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UN rights expert urges Myanmar to allow Muslims to vote

November 8 vote is seen as the freest and fairest in decades as Myanmar moves

 

A UN rights expert warned of turmoil in Myanmar if the upcoming landmark elections fall short of expectations for a credible vote.

The November 8 vote is seen as the freest and fairest in decades as Myanmar moves away from military rule, but Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, raised a long list of concerns.

Dozens of candidates have been disqualified, hundreds of thousands of people who had cast ballots in previous polls have been excluded, freedom of assembly is being curtailed and there is widespread of intimidation, said Lee.

Lee pointed to the exclusion of some 760,000 people who previously held temporary registration cards, mainly Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, but also ethnic Chinese and Indians.

A South Korean university professor and rights advocate, Lee said 50 candidates were disqualified from running, many of whom are Muslims from volatile Rakhine State. 

The candidates were barred from standing because they hold foreign citizenship or their parents have foreign passports, an issue that has stoked tensions in the state.

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