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Myanmar sets up internal Investigative Commission for the Recent Situation in Arakan State

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Following weeks of international pressure, President Thein Sein today formed a commission to investigate the deadly sectarian violence in Arakan state, which controversially pitted Buddhists against the Muslim Rohingya minority in June.

The 27 member commission, headed by former director of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Dr Myo Myint, is mandated “to reveal the truth behind the unrest” and “find solutions for communities with different religious beliefs to live together in harmony”, according to the President’s website.

The new body includes representatives from various religious groups, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, as well as political parties and democracy groups, but no Rohingya.

A number of controversial figures have also been included, such as student leader Ko Ko Gyi, who notoriously called for the minority to be expelled from Burma, as well as the vehemently anti-Rohingya leader of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) Dr Aye Maung.

“It is a good to form a body with people of various religions as the international community has been calling for the formation of an investigation commission,” he said of the appointment. “I assume we will be able to present the truth accurately.”

The Burmese government has faced fierce criticism for its handling of the Arakan crisis, which left at least 78 people dead and destroyed over 5,300 houses, according to government figures. A recent Human Rights Watch report accused the government of both failing to prevent the violence and later colluding in attacks against the Rohingya minority, who are denied citizenship and widely despised in Burmese society.

Although the formation of the commission marks a U-turn for the government, which until recently has rejected calls for an investigation into the violence, it is likely to face tough questions about its independence and reliability, as well as accusations of “window-dressing”.

Earlier this week, a coalition of 24 political parties, led by the RNDP, called for the removal of UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Tomas Quintana, who recently visited the conflict-torn region, over allegations of bias in favour of the Rohingya.

“When the president offered me to take part in the commission, I asked for only one thing; that I want it to be really independent and transparent,” said commission member and comedian Zaganar, who has previously condemned discrimination against the Rohingya. “I said I don’t want to be a part of it if there are interferences and I was given an answer that it won’t happen.”

Some members have also complained about the lack of clarity for their role.

“It would be very good if the president were to give us a specific mandate and power to deal with the issue,” said commission member Kyaw Khin, General Secretary of the Myanmar Muslim National Affairs Federation.

“I think conducting an independent investigation would be the best for Arakan state. I’m taking part in this more as a citizen rather than a religious leader. I think it’s a good thing that we are able to address both citizen rights and religious issues.”

Tensions flared in the western state after the rape and murder of an Arakanese girl in late May, allegedly by three Muslims, led to a brutal revenge attack on ten Muslim pilgrims. It brought to the fore long-simmering distrust against the Rohingya, who are viewed as “illegal Bengali immigrants” by many Burmese, including Muslims, and denied basic rights by the government.

The commission is set to present its findings to the President on 17 September.

Source : DVB News

  1. The credibility of the Investigation commission is a big question. Ko Ko Gyi who called to expel all Rohingyas from the soil of Arakan and Dr. Aye Maung, the main perpetrator or culprit who masterminded the genocide are included in the commission is that Thein Sein and his government is bluffing intentional community.

    One can imagine what justice will deliver appointing culprits as Judges.

    Why Rohingya political party or MP are excluded while Rakhine political parties are included.
    So biased!

    Why political parties from Chan, Chin etc are included who do not know about the Arakan and ignoring the Kaman and Mru or Kamee Political parties from Arakan. Biased again!

    There is no difference in between Dr. Aye Maung (his party RNDP) and Thein Sein.

    The statement of RNDP which was released prior to Mr. Navi Pally's arrival at Nay Pyi Daw was interpreted by Thein Sein as:

    Rohingya problems can be solved by keeping them in the camps, hand over them to UNHCR and subsequently resettle them to third countries. This was the statement of RNDP just parroted by Thein Sein.

    Only international commission of inquiry can reveal the truth.

  2. The Yob Buddhist Monks have been preaching to be religious and racial hatreds ... All international Buddhist people should educate Myanmar Buddhist Monks to be good-hearted .... and also to preach good religious speech only.... As a result of their unfair preaching , many racial riots like Rakhine crisis occured in Myanmar .... Myanmar Muslims have been divided and ruled long time... No profit to the country ... Everyone should perceive and ratiocinate the real cause ...........

  3. All investigater are the muslims killer

  4. Myanmar government is the best illusionist in the world. This commission is set up to show the world , Muslim rohingya are the problem maker. But The truth is rohingya people have oppressed and prosecuted in Burma. they are such a coward , if you want truth send international observer with rohingya local resident. I wanna say how long Burmese government can hide, one day the truth will come out. make dua to save brothers and sisters for rakhine state ( arakan) .

  5. what kind of goverment you can see.ko ko gyi and Aye maung are investigat commission already they and there president are mastermaind of violence.

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