Concern voiced over blocking of visas for UN fact-finding team

12 July 2017
Concern voiced over blocking of visas for UN fact-finding team
Internally displaced people in front of their temporary shelter near Lung Byeng village, Waimaw township in Kachin State. Photo: Hkun Lat/AFP

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern over the Myanmar government refusing to grant visas to members of a United Nations fact-finding mission. 
The government of Myanmar said on June 30 that it would not grant visas to members of a commission appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations by the country’s state security forces, including the recent alleged abuses in Rakhine State.
John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch said:“Denying visas to the members of the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council would be a slap in the face to victims who suffered grave human rights violations by Myanmar’s state security forces.”
“Does Aung San Suu Kyi’s government really want to be included in a very small and ignominious club of countries that reject Human Rights Council decisions? North Korea, Eritrea, Syria, and Burundi are human rights pariah states that obstructed the work of independent, international investigations into alleged rights abuses, and it would be a travesty for a democratically elected, National League for Democracy-led government in Myanmar to do the same,” Mr Fisher said. 
“The government should immediately announce they will issue visas to the fact-finding mission, and fully cooperate with its investigation. Otherwise, the governments that pushed to set up this fact-finding mission need to stand up for it and impose a political consequence on Myanmar for blocking its work,” he said.