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Myanmar bans U.N. investigator, puts foreign journalists in jail

Staff Writer |
The United Nations investigator into human rights in Myanmar is not allowed to enter the country, Myanmar government officials announced on Wednesday, one day officials said they found a mass grave there.

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Zaw Htay, Myanmar government spokesman, told CNN investigator Yanghee Lee "is not impartial and objective when conducting her work, [and] there is no trust in her."

Lee said the decision could be a "strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country."

During her last visit to Myanmar in July, Lee raised concerns over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. The largely Buddhist Myanmar government has denied citizenship to members of its Rohingya minority since 1982.

In August, Rohingya militants attacked police posts, according to Myanmar's military, sparking a violent military crackdown resulting in more than 650,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

The country's death toll during the first month of the crackdown nearly reached 14,000. Some 1,000 children under the age of 5 years old died during that time

Myanmar officials began investigating a mass grave Tuesday, after a medical team exhumed 10 bodies. A statement by Myanmar armed forces said action would be taken against those involved in the killings.

Last week, two Reuters reporters were detained in Myanmar after police say they violated the Official Secrets Act.

Reports say residents in Inn Din, the village where the mass grave was discovered, gave the journalists photos and documents. Government officials said the reporters would soon be able to meet with a lawyer and their families.

Officials from the United States, Britain and other countries have demanded their release.


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