A U.N. human rights envoy has ended a 12-day visit to Myanmar with a bleak evaluation of the government’s ability to deal with the problems facing the country’s ethnic minorities.
U.N. rapporteur Yanghee Lee in a statement before her departure criticized the government’s aggressive response to problems including fighting with the Kachin minority in the country’s north and a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the west. Myanmar’s military has been accused of human rights abuses in both areas.
“The government’s response to all of these problems seems to currently be to defend, dismiss and deny.
And this response is not only counterproductive but is draining away the hope that had been sweeping the country,” she said, adding that she believed it was not too late to reverse the trend.
Lee said she was barred by the government from travelling to parts of Kachin state, but that it was clear that the situation there was deteriorating. People who live there told her “the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years,” she said.—AP