Second Arakan Probe to Focus on Missing Policeman

Rohingya, human rights, inter-communal violence, Arakan, Rakhine, Buddhism, EU, US, Thein Sein, Myanmar

A fire in the western part Du Chee Yar Tan village destroyed 16 homes on Jan. 28. (Photo: MoIWebPortalMyanmar/Facebook)

RANGOON — A new government commission set up to investigate recent violence in northern Arakan State will try to establish the “root cause” of the death of a policeman said to have been killed by a Rohingya mob on Jan. 13, but does not say if it will address allegations made by the United Nations that almost 50 Rohingyas were killed either side of the policeman’s disappearance.

While specifying probing the death of policeman Aung Kyaw Thein, the commission remit mentions only other “deaths and injuries and loss of property in the incidents,” with regard to alleged violence in Maungdaw Township in northern Arakan State during January.

The new inquiry features both Arakanese Buddhist and Muslim representatives and was announced in the state mouthpiece The New Light of Myanmar on Feb. 7, and will be headed by Dr Tha Hla Shwe of of the Myanmar Red Cross Society. It is expected to report its findings to President Thein Sein’s government by the end of February.

Other commissioners include Dr Kyaw Yin Hlaing, an advisor to the Burma President Thein Sein, and Tun Aung Chein of the soon-to-be-revamped Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, which this week concluded that it found no evidence of the alleged massacres of Rohingyas in Du Chee Yar Tan village.

Violence between Arakanese Muslims – not only Rohingya but other groups such as Kaman – and Arakanese Buddhists has killed scores and left 140,000 people displaced since 2012.

The Burmese government has vehemently denied any killings of Rohingyas took place. Ye Htut, the spokesman of the President’s Office, told The Irrawaddy in January that the claims, which emerged during Burma’s hosting of a meeting of regional foreign ministers, were a cover-up by villagers after the policeman went missing in action.

The government subsequently alleged on Jan. 24 that the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a little-known Islamic militant group, was involved in the killing of the policeman.

Myo Thant, a Rangoon-based Rohingya politician representing the Democracy and Human Rights Party, which does not have any seats in Burma’s Parliament, said that he thinks the newly-announced inquiry is about “buying time” for the government, and said that an independent, international probe is needed.

“Unless there is an international investigation, there will be no truth about what happened in Maungdaw Township,” he said.

The United States and others have called for an independent international investigation, a request that was shot down by the government, which maintains that the Rohingyas, who are stateless and live under severe restrictions in northern Arakan State, are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

A European Union statement released earlier this week, after a delegation comprising ambassadors from several EU countries concluded a four day fact-finding visit to Arakan, said that the delegations took note of Arakanese Buddhist’s “request that all people of Rakhine State should respect the rule of law, in particular the 1982 Citizenship Law.”

David Scott Mathieson, a Burma-focused analyst for Human Rights Watch, which earlier this week met with Burma President Thein Sein, said that the EU delegation statement, “reflects more their own interests in development projects and appeasing the government than speaking out strongly against violence and hate speech.”

“The only way to ensure urgently needed protection for the Rohingya population is for the international community to speak out strongly against the local actors that perpetuate that violence and the national officials who have largely failed in their duty to protect this highly vulnerable minority,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The EU statement was released prior to the announcement Friday of the new government inquiry, but said that, “We welcome the President’s commitment to launch an independent investigation into the events in Duu Chee Yar Tan village in order to swiftly shed light on the events, and thereby address the rumors that continue to circulate.”

Arakanese politicians said they oppose any international investigation into the incident, and commended the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission for its recent work in the fraught region. “They inquire about the news openly, they give the true news,” said Khin Maung Latt of the Arakan National Party (ANP) who said he expects the new inquiry to do what he sees as a similarly-effective job.

On Wednesday night, ANP leader Dr Aye Maung survived what is being described as a drive-by assassination attempt in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s biggest city, where he was visiting Arakanese migrant workers in one of the region’s three majority-Muslim countries. “I think Rohingya in Malaysia tried to kill him,” said Khin Maung Latt.

In January, Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natelagawa told The Irrawaddy that while Burma’s neighbors agree with the Burmese government’s view that sectarian violence in Burma is an internal matter, it nonetheless has wider implications. Clashes between Buddhist and Muslim Burmese migrants left several dead in Malaysia during 2013, while the Burmese Embassy in Jakarta was subject of an Islamist terror plot earlier in 2013.

3 Responses to Second Arakan Probe to Focus on Missing Policeman

  1. Until and unless RULE OF LAW prevail in Burma ( Myanmar ) internal investigation commission can not bring the truth. If every one agree to bring the truth, should allow private investigation either from abroad or private organizations within the country will provide the real facts. Otherwise it will be the same result comes out like previous commission led by Dr. Myo Myint who led Arakan violence investigation which was fruitless and meaningless.

  2. Rohingyas has been subjected to extra-judicial killings, occasional massacre, force labor, physical abuse, rape, harassment, eviction and expulsion and other forms of massive human Rights Violations since December 1784 AD. However, Rohingyas periodically enjoyed fruit of peace and freedom particularly when British occupied Arakan in 1824 and subsequently reigned it till 1936; When East Bangal under the controlled of Pakistan prior to 1971; when Mujahid uprising in Burma against discrimination prior to 1960. Massacre on Rohingyas is not a new phenomenon, rather it is a continuation from 1784 when Burmese King Ava hand in hand with the Rakhine Buddhists massacred hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas in Arakan and further forced them to cross borders into Bengal (Now Cox’s Bazaar. See British General William Cox. The crux of the problem faced by the Rohingya is Burmese Buddhists’ backing on what the Rakhine Buddhists have committing and perpetrating against the Rohingyas on religious ground – nothing more and nothing less. The Burmese Government or regime has been always with their co-religionists- Rakhine Buddhists- whenever oppression and persecution and massacre perpetrated on Rohingyas. One day, these fanatic Buddhists regimes -Burmese regime in central Burma and Rakhine Buddhists’ regime in Arakan State- will create chaos and uncontrollable phenomenon in the Asean’s region unless they are properly checked and disciplined on humanity. Look! the Burmese government’s open denial of incontrovertible evidence on Massacre, torture, rapes, and physical abuse on Rohingya in Du Chara Daung (Kilai Daung village) and Gadus Sara Village). This shows that the president Thein Sein region was/is either directly and/or indirectly involved in the ongoing violences, including the current ones vide supra. I urge the U.S and EU to help protect the remaining Rohingyas in Arakan for the sake of humanity otherwise you will be answerable to God.

  3. We want to investigate the missing policeman before we let others investigate the violence in Maungdaw township. Why international bodies need to be asked before to find out the root cause of missing and most probably being killed by Rohhingers who are immigrants. Burmese gov; must be firm to defend the local people who owns their land. If there is any case of missing of local people happens , it should be investigated thoroughly first. We fed up all allegations by invaders so-called Rohingers. Foreign or international bodies must respect internal affair of other countries. You have no right to force and investigate. It is no need to throw the stone whenever the dogs bark. If you are backing them, there would be more unrest in western Myanmar resulting more poverty of Arakanese people who are not looked after by poor government and are discriminated by international bodies who support so-called Rohingers only. You don’t need to cry for anybody who never cried for you.

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