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Myanmar Blocks IDP Expert As UN Focuses on Progress, Ojea Quintana Soft on Rohingya?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 25 -- Even on a day when in Myanmar 56 Rohingya are reported to have been killed, a thousand homes burned down, at the UN their plight is largely downplayed.

  In the online report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the Rohingya appear twice, in Paragraphs 71 and 72 (in the first, they are misspelled.)

  Inner City Press asked Ojea Quintana what he or other human rights officials in the UN system do for the Rohinga who have been chased in Bangladesh. He replied that his mandate is focused on the territory of Myanmar. He said he has visited Thailand and Malaysia, but did not mention Bangladesh.

  On October 24 Inner City Press asked Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons Beyani about the Rohingya IDPs. He said he has asked to visit Myanmar, but has been told this is not possible in 2013.

Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ban or his former chief of staff and now Myanmar "Good Offices" envoy to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar "believe, as part of the progress they have praised in Myanmar, that it should involve extending invitations or accepting requests to visit by mandate-holders like Mr. Beyani."

Nesirky replied, "I think the short answer is that, yes, it should. The longer answer is that this is a work in progress, and I think you will see, and you will have seen, some movements, positive movements in this particular area, and we would anticipate that that will continue."

Positive movements? The next day it was reported that 1000 homes had been burned, and 56 Rohingya killed. What's being done?

After Ojea Quintana presented his report in the Third Committee of the General Assembly, Myanmar's representative said his government is trying to stop the violence. Here's an idea: don't leave the Rohingya, who Beyani notes have long been in the country, stateless. Watch this site.

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