Peace, sta­bil­ity com­mis­sion planned for Rakhine

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­

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.

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