Yangon, Feb 7, 2017: A Myanmar state commission, probing allegations the military has murdered, assaulted and violated Rohingya Muslims rejected accusations. It is not credible, the Commission said today focusing on the “truth” and not pleasing the UN.
Last week the Human Rights Office of United Nations demanded Myanmar’s military had likely slaughtered hundreds of Rohingya during a continuing crackdown in a “calculated policy of terror” against the Muslim minority.
According to reports, nearly 70,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the army launched “clearance operations” four months ago to find Rohingya militants allegedly carrying out deadly raids on police border posts, mentioned PTI.
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The report by the UN’s rights body OHCHR said the accounts of crimes like torture, murder and gang-rape committed at the hands of security forces were so severe that it may amount to ethnic cleansing.
Among the testimonies published there were a number of accounts of children massacred with knives while their mothers were molested by security forces.
For months Myanmar dismissed such testimonies assembled by foreign media and human rights groups and curtailed access to the region.
Following last week’s UN report, a spokesman for Myanmar’s president stated that the government was very much concerned by the “extremely serious allegations” and would take measures to look into these issues through the Rakhine commission.
Critics have denied the state-appointed body, which was led by retired general and Vice President Myint Swe and consists of no Muslims, as toothless and lacking in credibility, mentioned AFP report.
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Last month it issued an interim report that rejected the allegations that claimed the troops had carried out a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya minority and saying it had found “insufficient evidence” of rape.
“The existing commission is not a credible option to undertake the new investigation,” the UN’s top official on preventing genocide, Adama Dieng, said in his staement in New York on Monday.
“I am concerned that the government commission… found nothing to substantiate the claims, while OHCHR… found an overwhelming number of testimonies and other forms of evidence,” he added.
But commission member Aung Tun Thet rejected the criticism, pointing out the fact that the body was focused on getting “fair results” and not impressing the international community.
“What’s more important than refuting them (the UN) is finding the truth,” Aung Tun Thet, a retired UN adviser, told the media. “There will be criticism however hard you try. But for the commission, we must work out the truth of the situation.”
The Rakhine commission is the second body created by Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a national attempt to heal the religious divide in the state since sectarian unrest caused the death of more than 100 people in 2012, mentioned PTI.
In August she fellow Nobel laureate and former UN chief Kofi Annan was appointed to lead a separate body tasked with investigating solutions for the sectarian-plagued region.
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Buddhist nationalists have bitterly proclaimed that body as foreign meddling.
There are more than a million people belonging to the Rohingya community in Rakhine state, where they are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and forced to live in a situation akin to apartheid.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang