State Counselor Meets Rakhine Investigation Commission to Discuss Work Plan

By Moe Myint 15 August 2018

YANGON — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with a newly appointed commission charged with investigating alleged rights violations in Rakhine State on Wednesday to discuss the body’s work plan and select a secretary.

The President’s Office announced the creation of the commission in May, following mounting pressure on the government over its handling of the violence in Rakhine since August 2017, when militant attacks on security posts in the state triggered a military crackdown that has driven some 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh.

The UN has labeled the military’s operations ethnic cleansing, while the EU and US have imposed sanction on military generals for their alleged roles. International rights groups have been urging the UN to refer the generals to the International Criminal Court.

In late July, the President’s Office named the four people to serve on the “commission of enquiry.” They include two international experts — Philippine diplomat Rosario Manalo and former Japanese Ambassador to the UN Kenzo Oshima. The two Myanmar members are U Aung Tun Thet, who also serves as chief coordinator of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine, and U Mya Thein, a former chair of Myanmar’s Constitutional Tribunal.

“We are going to start our work very quickly,” said U Aung Tun Thet, declining to comment on today’s meeting.

Rosario, who will chair the commission, is scheduled to hold a press conference in Naypyitaw on Thursday.

“I can’t say more at this stage, and we all agreed that only our chairwoman will speak to the media,” U Aung Tun Thet said.

According to a brief statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the commission members discussed the body’s terms of reference. State Counselor’s Office Minister U Kyaw Tin Swe, International Cooperation Minister U Kyaw Tin, national security adviser U Thaung Tun, who also chairs the Myanmar Investment Commission, attended the meeting as well.