Arakan National Party to Investigate Civilian Deaths in Rakhine State Fighting

By MIN AUNG KHNE 21 March 2019

SITTWE, Rakhine State — The Arakan National Party (ANP) on Wednesday formed a commission to investigate civilian deaths caused by the ongoing fighting between the Myanmar military and rebel Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine State.

ANP General Secretary U Tun Aung Kyaw said the commission consists of nine members including himself, party Vice Chairwoman Daw Aye Nu Sein, and Central Executive Committee member and Lower House lawmaker U Oo Hla Saw.

“Being the party that won the majority [of votes] in Rakhine State, we feel obliged to investigate the suffering of civilians and present it to the government, which is responsible for the Union. We have formed the commission to find out how we can prevent and remedy those issues, and to present our findings to the government,” U Tun Aung Kyaw told The Irrawaddy.

The commission also intends to determine which side in the conflict is responsible for the recent shelling that damaged some heritage sites in Mrauk-U, the former capital of the Arakanese Kingdom.

As part of their work the commissioners plan to visit the townships of Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, where much of the fighting has taken place. They will meet with victims, village administrators and government department officials to assess the extent of the casualties, injuries and damage to properties and heritage sites.

The commissioners intend to finish their report in a week and submit it to the ANP’s Central Executive Committee first.

“As the Central Executive Committee has assigned us to investigate the deprivations of the civilians immediately, without delay, we will conduct the field assessment in seven days,” U Tun Aung Kyaw said.

The Central Executive Committee will then forward the report to the country’s president, state counselor, commander-in-chief, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and other organizations.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.