Last week officials prevented the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, from visiting areas of Shan State where alleged human rights abuses have taken place, citing “security reasons”.

Yanghee Lee, a South Korean academic, originally planned to visit conflict and war-affected areas in both Kachin State and the northern Shan State during her 12-day visit to Burma but she was prevented from doing this in both states.

“She wants to go to areas like Kyaukme and Kutkai that have many war refugees. The government said this morning that she can’t go due to security reasons,” a person who met with Yanghee Lee said on 21 June when he was contacted by S.H.A.N.

In May heavy clashes took place in Shan State between the Burma Army and ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) in the areas Yanghee Lee wanted to visit.

Charred human remains have been found in many of these areas. Man Pain village, a Kachin village in the Mong Koe area located east of Kutkai, was also set on fire.

Although she has been restricted from visiting much of northern Shan State, Yanghee Lee met civil society organisations in Lashio who said that she had promised to thoroughly study the reports of human rights violations submitted to her and that she would then submit a report to the UN.

Yein Han Pha from the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) said: “Besides the human rights situation, we also submitted [information] on the situations of education and health.”

Sai Aung Myint Oo from the Shan Youth Network Yangon, one of the organisations that met with Yanghee Lee said that they had submitted information to her about conflicts in Shan State, the vandalism of Shan language signboards and how human rights violations have still been happening since the new government took office.

The UN Special Rapporteur’s trip took place from 20 June to 1 July.

Reporting by Sai Aung Saing for SHAN
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI