Rakhine sit­u­a­tion ‘deeply wor­ry­ing’: Ger­man Am­bas­sador

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - By An­nika Bangerter

The Ger­man am­bas­sador to Myan­mar Dorothee Janet­zke-Wen­zel has de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion in Rakhine state as "ex­tremely se­ri­ous and deeply wor­ry­ing ", a day after the US threat­ened sanc­tions on the coun­try for its han­dling of the cri­sis. "The hu­man­i­tar­ian and hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion in Rakhine state is ex­tremely se­ri­ous and deeply wor­ry­ing," she said while de­liv­er­ing a talk on Ger­man for­eign pol­icy or­gan­ised by Myan­mar In­sti­tute for Strate­gic & In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (MI­SIS) on Wed­nes­day. She said that dur­ing aerial trips over Rakhine, it was ap­par­ent that the burn­ing of vil­lages had been "very sys­tem­atic." "Some of the facts are very hard to as­cer­tain. We know of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks by the ARSA. But we are not quite sure, what hap­pens af­ter­wards," she said "The re­ac­tions of the army was ex­pected and would have hap­pened in other coun­tries, but we do not know how wide­spread and in­tense it was ... When we looked at the burned vil­lages from the he­li­copters it ap­pears to be very sys­tem­atic burn­ing … there must have been a lot of in­tim­i­da­tion for 600 000 peo­ple to flee their homes." And then she in­sisted that "some­thing needs to be done." MI­SIS mem­bers pointed to the un­usu­ally harsh global cri­tique of Myan­mar in in­ter­na­tional fo­rums like the UN orby coun­tries like the US.

They said the Aung San Suu Kyi gov­ern­ment was in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Bangladesh to set­tle on a def­i­nite time frame to take back all those refugees who had fled into Bangladesh. "But we are fac­ing the prob­lem with ver­i­fi­ca­tion be­cause many refugees do not have doc­u­ments which may have been burnt in their vil­lage homes," one MI­SIS mem­ber said. The Ger­man am­bas­sador ad­mit­ted that this was a prob­lem. "I can un­der­stand you want your peo­ple back and not oth­ers." But shein­isted that this prob­lem could be tack­led with elab­o­rate cross ver­i­fi­ca­tion by in­volv­ing neigh­bours and oth­ers who knew those claim­ing to have fled with­out doc­u­ments. Be­sides projects that are fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of Rakhine State, Myan­mar needs a "pro­found look" at its own his­tory, Janet­zke-Wen­zel said."You have to start with the his­tory again, you need me­di­a­tion be­tween the peo­ple . .... thus they know each other." Fur­ther­more it is very im­por­tant to un­der­line, that crimes against hu­man­ity have con­se­quences, high­lighted the Ger­man am­bas­sador. "If there are hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, (those re­spon­si­ble) should be pros­e­cuted," she said. As the Euro­pean Union pointed out clearly, crimes against hu­man­ity "are not ac­cept­able". Janet­zke-Wen­zel said she sees the "the good in­ten­tions" of the State Coun­sel­lor Aung San Suu Kyi, but to stop the on­go­ing cri­sis, the "prob­lems need to be tack­led sys­tem­at­i­cally and strongly.”

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