Govt to investigate ARSA massacre
The Office of the President on Thursday announced that it has set up an independent commission to investigate the massacre of Hindus in northern Rakhine.
THE government has formed a three-member independent investigation commission that will include “one international personality” to look into human rights violations, the President’s Office announced on Thursday.
The commission will investigate “the violation of human rights and related issues following the terrorist attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army”, the statement said.
“National and international legal and technical experts” will assist the team, it said.
The statement however did not say who would be involved in the commission. It also did not describe if the team would be allowed to probe allegations directed against Tatmadaw personnel.
The formation of the commission comes a week after Amnesty International revealed its findings that ARSA fighters massacred Hindu villagers in Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine on August 25.
According to the AI report, up to 99 Hindu men, women and children were killed by ARSA and dozens remained missing following the group’s attacks on government security outposts.
In a statement on its Twitter account a few days after the report came out, ARSA vehemently denied the AI assertions, describing it as “unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations”.
“We categorically deny all of these unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations mentioned in the said report,” it said.
Since 2012, Rakhine has suffered waves of inter-communal violence that have displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers.
The United Nations estimated that around 700,000 Muslim residents have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since the August 25 ARSA attacks and a brutal military counterinsurgency campaign.
The President’s Office statement said the formation of the commission is one of the initiatives that was in line with the “interim recommendations” of the Advisory Board for the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State.
The statement described the formation of the “Independent Commission of Enquiry” as part of its “national initiative” to build reconciliation, peace and stability and development in Rakhine.
A United Nations Security Council delegation that visited Rakhine in May urged the government to conduct a proper investigation of the alleged human rights violations perpetrated by security forces against the Muslim minority.
The Myanmar government is finalising talks with the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to sign agreements on the two agencies’ role in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine.
In November the government signed an agreement with Bangladesh for the repatriation of the refugees, but a number of international agencies, including the UN, said the repatriation is not yet feasible due to security problems in Rakhine. The Myanmar government said it is ready to accept the refugees.
‘We categorically deny all of these unjustifiable and careless ... accusations mentioned in the said report.’ ARSA Statement