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“Shrinking Democratic Space” in Myanmar

The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has concluded a visit in the country and issued an initial report about Myanmar's human rights situation:

The opening up of democratic space for people to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to freedom of assembly and association is widely acknowledged as one significant achievement in Myanmar’s continuing reform process. Yet, in recent months many of my interlocutors have seen the shrinking of that space for civil society and the media.

There are also continuing reports of the excessive use of force by the police and the authorities in breaking up protests.

Yanghee Lee also expressed concern about the “spread of hate speech and incitement to violence, discrimination and hostility in the media and on the Internet, which have fuelled and triggered further violence” against minority ethnic groups and Muslims.

The Special Rapporteur stressed that Myanmar “needs further encouragement and understanding in order to address these challenges and to continue on the path of reform.”

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