The United Nations has extended the mandate of the special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar and renewed its call for the government to allow the opening of a country office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The resolution was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on March 28. The special rapporteur position will be extended for one year in its present guise – a decision that will irk the Myanmar government, which wanted the position downgraded to one of technical cooperation rather than reporting, if not abolished completely.

While the resolution, which was tabled by the European Union, aimed to highlight positive steps being taken by Myanmar, including the freeing of political prisoners and increased freedom of speech, it also expressed “serious concerns” remained regarding “the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State”. Myanmar rejected the use of the term in the draft resolution.

Another major concern of the international community is Nay Pyi Taw’s reluctance to allow the opening of a High Comissioner for Human Rights office, though the resolution did note that negations on the topic were “ongoing”.

The UN also called for an independent investigation into reports of violence in Du Chee Yar Tan village in northern Rakhine State in January. A commission formed by the government found no deaths had occurred but the UN says that it has “credible information” that at least 40 Muslim men, women and children were killed during a crackdown by security forces.

Argentinean lawyer Tomas Quintana’s term as special rapporteur – a position he has held since 2008 – will expire in May, after which a new rapporteur will be appointed. Mr Quintana made nine visits to Myanmar during his tenure.

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/10034-un-extends-special-rapporteur-mandate.html