UN human rights investigators said on Tuesday they needed “complete and unrestricted” access to Myanmar to investigate a serious and continuing crisis, but the government renewed its refusal to investigate.
“It is important that we see with our own eyes the sites of these alleged violations,” UN chief of mission Marzuki Darusman told the Human Rights Council, calling for “full and unrestricted access to the country.”
“There is a serious ongoing humanitarian crisis that requires urgent attention,” he added.
The council established the mission in March to investigate possible violations through Myanmar, with a particular focus on alleged crimes against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has repeatedly denounced the UN investigation as futile and promised that his government would not cooperate with it.
Ms. Suu Kyi delivered a nationally televised address on the Rohingya crisis on Tuesday, urging outside observers to visit Myanmar and see the situation on their own, in a speech aimed at appeasing an international community appalled by the violence waged by the army in Rakhine.
But hours after that speech, Myanmar’s ambassador, Htin Lynn, reaffirmed the “position of his government to disassociate itself from the resolution” that established the fact-finding mission.
“We continue to believe that the institution of such a mission is not a useful course of action to solve the already complicated issue of Rakhine,” he told the council.
Darusman had increased pressure on Myanmar to grant access, arguing that “it was in the interest of the government and in the interest of the people of Myanmar to communicate their views and evidence directly to the UN mission.”
He added that the investigation “urgently dispatched a team to Bangladesh,” where more than 400,000 Rohingyas have fled the army operations in recent weeks.
The UN investigator, an Indonesian national and veteran of previous UN investigations, including an innovative report on slave labor in North Korea, warned that Myanmar had the “danger signs” of a crisis that could worsen.
He noted reports that some in the Buddhist majority Myanmar had spread the propaganda that “compared the Rohingya to the plagues”.