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Suu Kyi Blames Politics for Opposition to Arakan Commission

Sittwe residents staged a protest upon the arrival of Kofi Annan in the Arakan State capital in September 2016. (Photo: Maung Kyaw Hein MPA / The Irrawaddy)

By The Irrawaddy
September 19, 2016

RANGOON — State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said politics was behind a joint statement from 11 political parties opposing the Kofi Annan-led Arakan State Advisory Commission.

“Denouncing the Kofi Annan Commission is not only based on race and religion but also, I think, political motivation,” she said during a meeting with members of the Burmese community in New York on Saturday.

“It makes me really sad. It should not be that people denounce the commission for political party interests when we are working for the whole country.”

Her comments came after a joint statement made by former ruling party the Union Solidarity and Development party and 10 other parties—all of which were heavily defeated by the National League for Democracy in last year’s general election.

The statement released last Friday said they were concerned about the commission’s activities, and said that the “formation of the commission is not in line with the State Counselor’s authority.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi formed the commission led by the former UN Secretary-General in August.

The commission has attracted criticism, especially from the local Arakanese party, for the inclusion of foreigners in the panel.

During the meeting with the Burmese community, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said “there is nothing to lose from the commission.”

“Thanks to the formation [of the commission], the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has decided to drop the resolution on the human rights issue,” she said in reference to a proposed resolution on the marginalized Rohingya at the UN assembly.

Kofi Annan visited Arakan State, also known as Rakhine State, in early September. After his trip, the former UN Secretary General told the media that the commission’s purpose was not to investigate rights abuses but to write an “impartial report.”

“I hope our recommendations will be helpful as we intend to reduce tension and support development,” said Mr. Annan.

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