"Deplorable" situation in IDP camps in Myanmar's Rakhine state

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Yanghee Lee. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The situation is deplorable in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rakhine State, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar stated after a ten-day visit to the country.

Ms Yanghee Lee noted that the living conditions were even worse in the Muslim camp of Baw Du Par.

The recurring outbreak of intercommunal violence has polarized Buddist and the minority Muslim communities in Rakhine State.

Meanwhile, the Special Envoy warned that any "backtracking" by authorities in Myanmar could threaten the advances made in the past three years.

Ms Lee called for more public freedoms, highlighting the intimidation, harassment, attacks, arrests and prosecution of journalists on issues deemed too sensitive or critical of those in power.

She also pointed to the violations committed against civil society for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and association.

Ms Lee decried the use of the judicial system and the application of legislation to criminalize and impede the activities of civil society and the media.

These actions impose a climate of fear and intimidation to the society at large, she said.

In the run-up to the 2015 elections, she added, there should be strict and clear safeguards to prevent undue interference in public freedoms.

In addition to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, she visited Rakhine State, Kachin State and Mandalay Division.

The Special Rapporteur's first report will be presented to the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly in October.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″

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