Peace, stability commission planned for Rakhine
The government plans to form a commission of local elders tasked with maintaining communal harmony in the restive state.
THE Rakhine State government plans to form a commission of local elders to monitor peace and stability in the restive state, according to Chief Minister U Nyi Pu, though one member of the regionally dominant Arakan National Party criticised what he said was a lack of transparency and clarity about the body’s functions.
U Nyi Pu told The Myanmar Times yesterday that planning was preliminary, but that members of the statelevel committee would be tasked with keeping in touch with local communities and liaising with international actors involved in the state.
“The plan is just under way as an introductory step and I cannot say how [the committee will be] taking action in monitoring the state’s peace and stability affairs yet,” said U Nyi Pu.
According to the Rakhine State Information Department, the government met with local elders on August 8 to discuss formation of the commission, the membership of which would be entirely nongovernmental. The initial proposal envisioned that the commission would be formed with nine members from both Buddhist and Muslim communities.
Violence between the two communities in 2012 killed more than 100 people and displaced 140,000 more. Four years later, mistrust still runs deep among many members of the faiths, and the state has effectively become self-segregated along religious lines.
U Nyi Pu said the elder commission’s mandate would be to bolster peace and stability in the state and report to the Union-level Rakhine State Peace, Stability and Development Committee, which was formed on May 30.
U Thar Tun, a local elder, said the commission should comprise elders with good reputations and should include people with a deep knowledge of Rakhine State’s history.
According to the Rakhine State government, the commission will be led by Myanmar National Human Rights Commission chair U Win Mya and Daw Saw Khin Tint, who is regarded as a patron of Rakhine civil society. Two elders from both the Buddhist and Muslim communities will also be selected, as well as three members drawn from among “internationally respected people”.
But U Tun Aung Kyaw, secretary of the Sittwe-based Rakhine nationalist ANP, said the process of forming the commission was unclear, adding that the hazy initial rollout of the concept of the commission and its remit had raised many questions.
“As far as I know, the commission did not form yet properly and did not decide who its members are. The commission includes two representatives from the Muslim community and it is not possible to work together with them on Rakhine State and Bengali issues,” he said, referring to the state’s Muslim minority that self-identifies as Rohingya.
U Nyi Pu, a member of the National League for Democracy, said no fixed date for the commission’s formation had been set, and its membership had not yet been decided.