The UN’s special rapporteur on Myanmar said Asean has a big role to play in the Buddhist-majority country.
In a press release issued on Thursday, Yanghee Lee observed that human rights violations in Myanmar are “creating increasingly serious issues for South and South East Asia”. Myanmar is a member of Asean, a 10-member regional group.
She said about 1.5 million refugees from Myanmar are in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Trafficking and smuggling of people from Myanmar and the drug trade within and outside the region are “examples of deepening concerns”.
Myanmar continues to deny every access to the country, Lee said. She said that she was distressed with the reports that women and girls, some as young as nine, were “being trafficked from northern Myanmar to neighboring countries for sex work”.
“Years of conflict in northern Shan and Kachin States has left families financially desperate, making women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking,” the UN expert said.
Lee said that Myanmar’s neighbors need to acknowledge “serious issues” that have been created by the country.
“The continuing gross violations of human rights in Myanmar jeopardise the lives of people around that country and relentlessly impact Myanmar’s neighbours in such a way that could threaten South and South East Asian peace and security,” she added.
She called on regional states to take a “stronger action” to address “security concerns caused by the actions of Myanmar”.