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UN expert calls for Myanmar to end persecution against Rohingya population

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee [official profile] called Monday for an immediate end to persecution against the Rohingya Muslim population after she spent four days in the country. Lee said [press release], "I urge the Government of Myanmar to immediately cease the discrimination that the community continues to face, to act now to prevent any further serious rights violations and to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into those already alleged to have occurred." Retired ambassador Keith Harper [official profile], former US permanent representative to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] also wrote [personal website] that it is "justified" for the UN to create a Commission of Inquiry to hold Myanmar accountable. Commissions of Inquiry have been used to investigate North Korea and Syria in the past. According to Harper, such a commission would "permit the international community to shine the brightest possible spotlight to determine what the facts are so that effective, affirmative steps can be taken to redress and prevent continuation of human rights transgressions."

The situation in Myanmar has continued to be one closely monitored by advocacy groups and world organizations. Earlier this month Myanmar officials stated [JURIST report] that they would investigate alleged police crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Also in February Human Rights Watch endorsed [JURIST report] an investigation into the abuses against the Rohingya population, specifically sexual abuses against women. In January a prominent Muslim lawyer in the country was shot and killed [JURIST report] outside an airport in Myanmar, which brought condemnation from an UN expert about the human rights situation in the country. The continued abuses against this vulnerable population led the UN to send an envoy to the country last month to assess the human rights [JURIST report] situation.

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