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Rohingyas share horrific tales of torture with UN envoy

These children lost their parents in Myanmar and came to Bangladesh on their own. File Photo: Amran Hossain/ STAR
Visiting UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee today met Rohingyas in camps and listened to their horrific experiences of torture in Myanmar.

She visited Damdamia Rohingya camp in Teknaf early this morning and talked to 20 Rohingyas -- 10 men and 10 women -- at the reception centre of Teknaf Nature Park.

During their meeting with Lee, Rohingyas described to the visiting UN special rights envoy their bitter experiences.

Officials of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and international donor agencies were present.

Later, the UN envoy visited Nayapara and other places where Rohingyas are now living.

Lee arrived here on Friday afternoon on a three-day visit to see rights situation of the displaced Rohingyas living in the district.

Lee began her Bangladesh visit on Thursday vowing to fulfill her mandate despite the Myanmar government's refusal to work with her.

She is visiting Rohingya camps from today to meet Rohingyas and community leaders.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. Star file photo

After her Bangladesh visit until January 24, the UN special rapporteur will visit Thailand where she will stay till January 30.

Following her visit, the human rights expert will present a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.

“The government (of Myanmar) has accused me of [being] bias, while at the same time denying that human rights violations have taken place in Myanmar,” Lee said. “I would ask the authorities to rethink their position, and to put the victims first.”

The UN envoy said she is determined to carry on -- to the best of her ability -- this very important task of helping the victims of human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar, as mandated to her by the United Nations system.

“I've a responsibility to speak on behalf of these victims, and I will not be deterred. This is why I am going ahead to visit neighbouring countries to reach out as far as possible to all victims and witnesses to learn of their experience,” she said earlier.

Yanghee Lee was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 as the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in Myanmar.

She is independent from any government or organisation and serves in her individual capacity.

(c) 2018 The Daily Star

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