US Embassy ‘Appreciates’ State Counselor’s Pledges on Rakhine

By The Irrawaddy 20 September 2017

YANGON — The US Embassy in Myanmar said on Wednesday that they appreciated State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s stated commitment to implementing rule of law throughout Rakhine State and her promise to deliver justice regarding human rights violations that have taken place.

The embassy’s spokesperson Aryani Manring told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the embassy welcomed the State Counselor’s decision to speak publicly about the ongoing violence and the resulting humanitarian crisis that has caused deep alarm around the world.

“We appreciate her commitment to restoring rule of law throughout Rakhine State and her pledge to ensure justice for human rights violations,” she said.

“We note her reaffirmation that her government will carry out the final recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission as quickly as possible. The United States has offered its support to the government as it works to address the long-term challenges addressed in the Commission’s report,” Manring added.

On Tuesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a diplomatic briefing on the situation in Rakhine State for the first time since violence flared again in the restive region, when Muslim militant group the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked 30 police posts on Aug. 25—killing 13 members of government security forces.

Subsequent clashes and Myanmar Army-led clearance operations have left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, including an estimated 410,000 self-identifying Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh with reports of killings, rape, and destruction of property by government forces.

In her speech, the State Counselor condemned any human rights violations and unlawful violence in Rakhine State, calling on the international community to assist in investigating the latest crisis and warning that action would be taken against anyone, regardless of race, religion, or political standpoint, who violated human rights in Myanmar.

“Every single recommendation that will benefit peace, harmony and development in Rakhine State will be implemented within the shortest time possible,” said she referring to the commission’s recommendations.

Meanwhile in Rakhine State, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy was in the state capital of Sittwe on Wednesday to meet with state government officials, civil society organizations, and members of ethnic minority groups to discuss the situation in Rakhine State, the embassy said.

Accompanied by US Ambassador for Myanmar Scot Marciel, Patrick Murphy will discuss the urging of humanitarian access, an end to violence, and the need to protect the human rights of all communities in the region.

The assistant secretary has been in Myanmar since Monday. With the ambassador, he had meetings on Tuesday with the State Counselor, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Myat Tun Oo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary U Kyaw Zeya, and Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Win Myat Aye.

US Embassy spokesperson Aryani Manring said that the ambassador urged the Myanmar government and the military to immediately facilitate expanded humanitarian access to affected areas of Rakhine State and commit to allowing refugees to return to their homes.

“He also raised allegations of human rights abuses and violations and called upon the Myanmar security forces to end all violence and protect all communities,” she said.