UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee looking into country’s human rights record, including alleged abuses against Rohingya.
UN special rapporteur on human rights Yanghee Lee has been denied access to some areas in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, with the government citing “security concerns” for its decision.
Al Jazeera also learned on Sunday that Lee was only allowed to speak to individuals who were pre-approved by the government while she visited Muslim Rohingya villages in the area.
“These are things that will certainly hamper her investigation,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Sittwe, said. “Lack of access will make her job more difficult.”
As part of her 12-day visit to Myanmar, Lee is spending three days in Rakhine – home to around 1.2 million stateless Rohingya, a Muslim minority that has suffered decades of poverty and repression, and been denied basic rights such as citizenship and freedom of movement.
Lee also visited the border guard posts, attacked in October, as well as a prison.
Northern Rakhine has been under strict military lockdown since October 9, when a gang killed nine border police officials near the border with Bangladesh, leading to a clampdown that has left anywhere between 84 and 400 Rohingya dead.
According to the UN, at least 65,000 Rohingya have reportedly fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence allegedly committed by the military, including the burning of homes, rape and murder of civilians.
The Myanmar government and military have denied all the allegations.
On Friday, Lee met Muslim community leaders during her visit to a Rohingya neighbourhood in Sittwe.
Lee also visited border guard posts, the attacks on which in early October triggered clearance operations by the military.
But a powerful ethnic party rejected a request for a meeting with Lee on Friday evening.
“We are not meeting her because we don’t believe she and her organisation [the UN] have a will to resolve the issues fairly,” Ba Swe, joint secretary of the Arakan National Party, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday