Two-and-a-half years after hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim ethnic Rohingya fled a campaign of State-led violence, Yanghee Lee said it was no longer enough for the international community to simply monitor grave abuses happening there.
In particular, the Special Rapporteur urged the UN Security Council in New York to establish an international tribunal “to adjudicate the crimes against humanity and war crimes” since 2011.
“This is where the international community must really walk the walk not talk the talk”, she insisted.
Speaking at a press conference in Geneva after presenting her last report to the Human Rights Council at the end of her six-year mandate, Ms. Lee highlighted concerns that Myanmar’s civilian government had done too little to promote democratic rule.
There were still a lot of “old draconian laws” that could be “amended, reformed repealed” by the civilian administration, which rules the country in a power-sharing arrangement with the military, Ms. Lee explained.
Rather than tackle legislative reform, the civilian Government had passed even more repressive measures that had “stifled” freedom of expression.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t too late for its leader, former rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi, to do something about it,” the independent rights expert maintained.
“There is no evidence that shows that the civilian Government is truly genuine about its
commitment towards democracy…but when I said it’s not too late, it’s because the civilian Government still has a lot of power if it exercises its power in the right places.”
In addition to Human Rights Council resolutions condemning abuses in Myanmar and calling for victims’ justice, consternation about the alleged massacre of ethnic Rohingya has also led to recent rulings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).