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  • » 02/04/2015, 00.00


    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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    See also

    03/10/2008 MYANMAR
    I, Ashin Pannasiri, dissident monk escaped from Burmese prison
    Arrested in October of 2007 at an internet cafe, he got away last September 16 and was taken in by some friends in India. He recounts the torture and "physical and psychological" violence he suffered in prison. From New Delhi, the "struggle for freedom and peace in Burma" will continue.

    19/12/2007 MYANMAR
    Burmese Catholics to Pope: at Christmas, remember our people in your prayers
    AsiaNews publishes the appeal by some Catholics in Myanmar to Benedict XVI. The fear that the world might forget the sufferings of their country is also present in the testimonies of some Buddhist refugees gathered in Thailand: the systematic cruelty of the military regime, the disarray of health care, the destruction of the education system, and the massive exploitation of resources and manual labour on the part of great powers like China have brought the country to its knees, and it is losing any hope for change.

    23/08/2012 MYANMAR
    Mosque shuttered, prayer ban on Rohingya during Ramadan in Myanmar
    During the Muslim month of fasting, mosques were sealed off. Not even for the festivity of Eid ul-Fitr were they reopened. Burmese Muslims and activists complain that pressure is being put on Muslims to leave the country. Human Rights watch calls it "state-sponsored persecution".

    16/12/2011 MYANMAR
    Struggle for Democracy, Burmese monk risks expulsion from the order
    Ashin Pyinna Thiha branded as "disobedient" by the official committee close to the Burmese government. He supported the opposition movement, organized meetings and discussions, called for "national unity". Yesterday 300 supporters demonstrated outside the gates of the place of worship.

    10/02/2012 MYANMAR
    Yangon, freed only a month ago, leader of the Saffron Revolution arrested
    Burmese Ashin Gambira in prison serving a sentence of 68 years. Since release, he violated the terms of probation, breaking the seals of three monasteries closed by the authorities.

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