ERC REJECTS PRESIDENT HTIN KYAW’S INQUIRY COMMISSION
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) categorically rejects the Inquiry Commission formed under the command of President Htin Kyaw to investigate the allegations of serious human rights abuses committed against Rohingya by Myanmar armed forces during clearance operations since October 9 till date in the northern Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The presidential statement released on December 1, highlighted the reasons of forming the commission as “to probe into the background situations that led to violent attacks and the truth about the incidents; to investigate whether existing laws, rules and regulations were observed in taking measures to avoid similar incidents in the future; and finally to submit the findings and recommendations to the President by January 31, 2017.”
The 13-member investigation committee is chaired by vice-President 1 U Myint Swe who as the Chief of Military Security Affairs oversaw the crushing of Saffron Revolution in 2007, and involved in many years of the severe human rights violations against Rohingya Muslim minority by the border security force NaSaKa until its defunct on July 12, 2013.
The committee is formed with various representatives that include a retired union minister, the Chief of Myanmar Police Forces, members of parliament, former Myanmar diplomats, and members of religious and local human rights groups without any single Rohingya representative. This raises serious questions on the credibility of the commission.
There is an overwhelming international pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy (NLD) government for the silence on the atrocities of armed forces, and the persistent denials of access to humanitarian aids and independent media outlets in the affected region.
On November 29, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemned in a statement, “the government has largely failed to act on the recommendations made in a report by the UN Human Rights Office… (that) raised the possibility that the pattern of violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity,” echoing what another UN official described the government is carrying out “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims.
Since the clearance operations unfolded from October 9 till date, various human rights groups raise their concerns on the armed forces “engaging collective punishment against Rohingya” following the attacks on police outposts by an unknown stick-holding assailant group.
The security forces are extensively involved in summary killings, arbitrary arrests, gang rapes and deliberate destructions of Rohingya villages displacing more than 40,000 in the bitter winter season desperately in need of food, shelter and medicine, operating under the blanket denial of independent media in a completely lockdown and highly militarized region.
The formation of Inquiry Commission with the exclusion of members of Rohingya community and independent international observers neither reflects the openness of the commission nor shows the credibility to establish the facts about the allegations of human rights abuses being perpetrated by the armed forces.
The new commission resonates the infeasible three previous Inquiry Commissions formed by the former President Thein Sein. The first commission was formed following the massacre of 10 Muslim pilgrimages in Taungup Township on June 3, 2012 followed by second commission after a series of genocidal campaigns against Rohingya unfolded on June 8, 2012. Finally, the 3rd commission was formed after “Duchira Dan Massacre” in which at least 50 Rohingya men and the gang-raping of many Rohingya women were committed by the security forces and Rakhine extremists. The “Duchira Dan Massacre” took place in Duchira Dan village, Maungdaw Township on January 13, 2014. The three commissions have come up with fabrications of facts, covering up of evidences and blaming the Rohingya victims rather than calling for the accountability of the state agencies and non-state actors, thus completely losing their credibility. So far, every time such large-scale atrocities against Rohingya were committed by Myanmar armed forces, successive Myanmar governments come up with Inquiry Commissions. The Inquiry Commission in turn comes up with new radical plans to further advance the decades-long Genocide agenda against Rohingya.
“If Myanmar’s security forces are not involved in any human rights violations as the authorities claim, then they should have no trouble granting independent observers access so they can help establish the truth on the ground,” Rafendi Djamin, Regional Director for South East Asia and Pacific of Amnesty International pointed out.
Questioning the credibility of the Inquiry Commission, ERC completely rejects the new investigation commission chaired by former Lieutenant General U Myint Swe. Therefore, ERC calls for an immediate UN-led commission of inquiry to impartially investigate the allegations of “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya.
For more information please contact:
Dr. Hla Kyaw (Dr. Khubyb)
Chairman, The European Rohingya Council
+ 31 652358202
Dr. Anita Schug
Spokesperson, The European Rohingya Council