Tue 20 Aug 2013
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,News,United Nations
During his two-day trip to Chin state, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Tomás Ojea Quintana was too rushed to meet with several Chin civic groups who complained that they did not get the opportunity to present their issues to him.
Representatives of the Chin Youth Organization (CYO) said they met with the UN envoy for a short time but that the Argentinian diplomat was too exhausted to properly attend to their requests. Other Chin NGOs, they said, were not permitted an audience with Quintana although such meetings had been arranged in advance.
Speaking to DVB on Monday, Salai Shwe Aung, a youth leader from Mindat Township, said that the civic groups were disappointed not to be afforded the chance to explain their human rights situation to the UN Rapporteur.
“Government newspaper Kye Mon published an article which called the Chin people barbarians and compared us to animals,” he said. “We applied twice to hold a demonstration to oppose this language but the authorities refused to allow it. In other cases, people in Chin state were evicted from their land when contractors wanted to build modern offices. We missed the opportunity to discuss these issues with Mr. Quintana.”
During his two-day trip to Chin State, Quintana visited Mindat and Kan Pet Let townships, and met with state government officials, township and district administrators, and Christian leaders.
Earlier the UN envoy had been denied permission to visit the Sino-Burmese border town of Laiza where the rebel Kachin Independence Army headquarters is based, with government officials citing security concerns.
Quintana did however visit Lashio in Shan State where he met with representatives of a Shan literature and culture society, as well as various religious leaders and government administrators. He also met with Aye Aye Win, the woman who was doused in petrol and set alight at a gas station in Lashio in May, an incident which set off communal riots in the city.
On the next leg of his trip, Quintana is scheduled to visit Meiktila in Mandalay Division, another town which was the center of deadly violence between Buddhist and Muslim mobs.
During his visit to Arakan state, Buddhist demonstrators chanted and held banners accusing the UN envoy of backing the region’s Muslim population.
At the end of his mission on 21 August, Quintana is due to hold a press conference at Rangoon International Airport to present his preliminary observations; his full report is due to be presented to the UN General Assembly on October 24, according to a United Nations press release.