insideaseaninsideasean about usabout us contact uscontact us site map
Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 16:53 PM | 28-12-2017

UN calls for pressure on China, Russia over Myanmar abuses

The United Nations’ independent investigator into human rights in Myanmar has called for international pressure on China and Russia to try to get them to oppose human rights abuses in Myanmar.

UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee, who was last week barred by the Myanmar government from visiting the country, singled out China and Russia because they had failed to back some moves in the UN aimed at trying to halt the Myanmar military’s crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine province.

“I’d like to ask the international community to continue to work with China and Russia to persuade them to stand on the side of human rights,” Lee told Reuters in an interview on Thursday (Dec 28, 2017).

Neither has joined the United States, the European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in condemning the crackdown that has led to the exodus of what aid agencies estimate to be 655,000 refugees into Bangladesh.

In response to Lee, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that “external actors” adding pressure over human rights will not help to resolve the issue, and may make it more complicated.

This would not be in the interests of Myanmar, its neighbors or the international community, she said at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

“We hope that countries or individuals external to the issue can create a positive environment that is more conducive to Myanmar resolving the issue for themselves,” Hua added.

The Russian foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The Russian government has previously warned against interfering in Myanmar’s internal affairs. Russia’s ambassador to Myanmar, Nikolay Listopadov has said it is “against excessive intervention, because it won’t lead to any constructive results.”

The Myanmar armed forces are accused by members of the Rohingya community and human rights advocates of carrying out killings, rapes and village burnings, in what top officials in the United Nations and United States have described as ethnic cleansing.

The Russian and Chinese stance is particularly important because either of them can block the U.N. Security Council from referring allegations of crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The ICC cannot act against Myanmar without a referral because Myanmar is not an ICC member.

Myanmar has denied human rights abuses, saying its military is engaged in a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. The military exonerated itself of all accusations of atrocities in an internal investigation, which published its findings on Nov. 13.

Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry has said Lee was not objective or impartial in a report she issued in July, and it wanted a fair investigator.

In This Section
MOST READ
most read
Korean fever strikes Bhutan
Through the Thai royal lenses
Beauty is not skin deep
Surrogacy and Thai legality questions
TRAVEL & LEISURE
China now the biggest source of foreign tourists to Boston
China now the biggest source of foreign tourists to Boston
A record number of Chinese tourists visited Boston last year, dethroning the United Kingdom as the No.1 source of overseas tourists.
 TRAVEL & LEISURE more