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  • » 02/04/2015, 00.00

    MYANMAR - UN

    Myanmar’s junta slams UN over interference in internal affairs



    The Burmese government targets the Special Representative Yanghee Lee, who highlighted discrimination against the Rohingya and criticized the law governing marriages and conversions. Foreign Ministry "invites" UN to carry out its work in a "professional and prudent" manner. In recent weeks, the woman was already the subject of abuse by a Buddhist Monk.

    Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Myanmar's government has accused a UN senior official of "interference" in the internal affairs of the country. The complaint, made by the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was provoked by statements made by Yanghee Lee (UN special representative for Myanmar) during her visit to the Asian nation last month.

    In her speech she stressed the serious discrimination against the Rohingya Muslim minority, a victim of persecution and abuse in the former Burma. The top UN official also expressed strong criticism of the new law, wanted by nationalist Buddhist monks, which restricts mixed marriages and freedom of conversion.

    Immediately following her visit, a prominent Buddhist monk- already famous in the past for his attacks on religious freedom and incitement to violence -  verbally attacked her. The words of the Buddhist leader provoked a firm reaction from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein, who has asked the government in Naypyidaw to condemn the monk's outburst.

    However, in its statement, the foreign ministry said that some of the concerns Lee had raised did not reflect "the overall positive aspect of an issue". "Selectivity is often exercised. On some occasions, interfering on issues which fall within state sovereignty and domestic jurisdiction is evident", it added. The document concludes with an invitation to the UN representative to carry out her work "in a professional and prudent"manner, without any reference to the insults directed against her by the religious leader.

    Since June 2012, the western state of Rakhine has witnessed violent clashes between Burmese Buddhists and Rohingya causing at least 200 deaths and 250 thousand displaced people. According to United Nations estimates, there are still 800 thousand members of the Muslim minority in Myanmar, who the government considers illegal immigrants and who are therefore subject to abuse and persecution.

     

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