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Asia Myanmar block UN bid to investigate ethnic cleansing

MYANMAR banned the United Nations from carrying out human rights investigations yesterday as they denied abuses were being committed against Rohingya Muslims.

UN official Yanghee Lee was informed yesterday that she will not be granted access to visit Myanmar next month with the government claiming that a previous report by her was “biased and unfair.”

She had been due to assess human rights abuses in the country, including those against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August, accusing Myanmar’s military of carrying out human rights violations including mass murder and gang rape.

The government has repeatedly denied that human violations are occurring throughout Myanmar and appears to be ramping up its attempts to prevent abuses being uncovered.

In Ms Lee’s end-of-mission report from July, she said that individuals she had spoken to were intimidated, photographed and quizzed before and after meetings with her.

The report also warned of increased attacks against Rohingya Muslims.

Last week Doctors Without Borders reported 6,700 Rohingya were killed between August and September in a government crackdown. Myanmar authorities claim just 400 militants died during a military cleansing exercise.

Ms Lee said: “They have said that they have nothing to hide, but their lack of co-operation with my mandate and the fact-finding mission suggests otherwise.

“This declaration of non-co-operation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country.”

The UN special rapporteur is mandated to visit Myanmar twice a year, reporting to the Human Rights Council and UN general assembly.

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