Yanghee Lee Meets Burmese Activists Based in Thailand

The visit by the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma was kept tightly under wraps.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, met with human rights groups based in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai over the weekend, according to sources who spoke to NMG on condition of anonymity.

Lee, who has been denied visas to enter Burma because of her criticism of the government’s handling of rights abuse cases, including allegations of genocide against ethnic minorities, planned to visit refugee camps located along the border. However, due to Thai security concerns, she was forced to cancel her plans to meet with refugees in the camps.

Lee held separate meetings with representatives of the Shan Human Rights Foundation and the Women’s League of Burma on Saturday to gather information about the human rights situation in Burma.

She also met with Nai Hongsa, the chairman of the United Nationalities Federal Council, an alliance of non-ceasefire ethnic armed organisations, and other ethnic leaders on Sunday. This was followed by meetings with leaders of civil society organizations (CSOs).

The visit was not publicized and no information was provided to journalists in advance of or during the visit. CSO representatives who met with Lee declined to comment on what they discussed.

Earlier this month, Lee accused both the Burma Army and the Arakan Army of violating human rights and international humanitarian law in what she said “may amount to war crimes.”