UN Special Rapporteur to make final visit to Burma
12 February 2014: Tomás Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma, is set to make his final official journey to Burma from 14 to 19 February.
He will visit Arakan (Rakhine) State, Kachin State, the Monywa copper mine in Sagaing Region, and the Thilawa Deep Sea Port near Rangoon, according to an official source.
The aim of his final trip to Burma is ‘to assess the current situation in the country and follow up on his previous recommendations before the end of his 6-year term as the UN Human Rights expert, appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2008.
He said: “In Rakhine State, I hope to be able to assess what steps the Government has taken to improve the human rights situation there, including in Maungdaw township.”
Quintana’s main focus in this trip will include visits to the country’s controversial development projects, mostly undertaken by Burma’s authorities and foreign companies.
The Monywa copper mine is jointly owned by a Chinese company and Myanmar Economic Holdings of the Burmese military while the Thilawa Deep Sea Port is fully owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH).
“These development projects can have a positive impact on a whole range of human rights, including healthcare, an adequate standard of living and education. However, if not pursued in accordance with human rights standards, they can lead to land confiscations, forced evictions and the further disempowerment of local populations,” he noted. “Now is the time to set in stone the standards for development.”
Mr. Quintana is also scheduled to meet with a range of government officials and parliamentarians in Nay Pyi Taw.
In August last year, the UN Special Rapporteur made his first visit to Chin State, and confessed that he was alarmed by the level of poverty in the country’s least developed and most isolated state.
He is scheduled to present his preliminary observations at a press conference at Rangoon International Airport on 19 February.#