Hate speech against UN rapporteur ‘deplored’

23 March 2015
Hate speech against UN rapporteur ‘deplored’
UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee, during a press conference in Yangon on January 16, 2015. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

The Coordination Committee of Special Procedures – the 53 independent experts and bodies appointed by the Human Rights Council with specific mandates on a range of issues and country situations – deplores the repeated hate speech and incitement to violence directed against the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee, according to a press release issued March 23. 
Ms Lee has been personally insulted and subjected to clear public threats against her person on at least two occasions in recent weeks, according to the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. 
Substantive disagreement with a Special Rapporteurs’ assessment can always be expressed. It is however unacceptable for mandate holders to be subjected to violent threats and public abuse when discharging their mandates which are established by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the key UN body comprising 47 Member States. 
“While acknowledging that the Myanmar government is not directly responsible for such statements, we strongly urge the authorities to disassociate themselves from these statements, to take all necessary measures to address, and prosecute as necessary, all acts of incitement to hatred and violence, as required under international law, and to fulfill their responsibility to ensure the safety and integrity of Ms Lee as she carries out her mandate, and in particular during her visits to the country,” the office says.