USDP-led Alliance Criticizes Govt for Action on Rakhine Report

By Thu Thu Aung 13 September 2017

YANGON — A coalition of 29 political outfits headed by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has condemned the government for agreeing to implement recommendations of the Rakhine advisory commission led by Kofi Annan.

In a joint statement released on Sept. 12, the parties accused the government of neglecting Myanmar Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing’s remarks on the commission’s final report.

By doing so means the government “is disregarding the advice of an institution that is mainly responsible for the country’s defense and security, which could hinder national reconciliation,” read the statement.

The parties, which had opposed the formation of the advisory commission, rejected its report and “the traitors and foreign groups who would destroy the national interest.”

The report suggested a review of the 1982 Citizenship Law—the main source of ire for the opposition parties.

The statement also protested the terms “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” that have been used by some in the international arena to describe the situation in Rakhine. It said those who used the terms are provoking external interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs.

It demanded the government hold a National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) meeting in order to lay down a national security policy for Rakhine State.

The parties met on Sept. 10 to discuss the Rakhine conflict. They have accused foreign media and international humanitarian organizations of worsening the situation and also reserved some blame for the government.

A post on Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing Facebook’s page said the commission could not get perfect data and facts because of time and movement limitations, and that the report included factual inaccuracies.

“The Myanmar Citizenship Law 1982 is an existing law; citizenship process must go in line with that law. Even in the UN general provisions, a person needs to register to become a citizen. Therefore, all Bengalis in Rakhine State need to register. Those identified will be allowed to live freely and those unidentified will have to be restricted,” read the statement, using a term to describe the self-identifying Rohingya Muslims.

The report encouraged the government to accelerate the national verification process in line with 1982 Citizenship law in Rakhine State and create a transparent strategy and timeline for granting citizenship to those eligible.

The government on 24 August agreed to speedily implement the recommendations, which also advised the issuing of birth certificates and citizenship to children born in Rakhine State. On Tuesday the President’s Office announced it would form a committee to handle the implementation process.

Members of the NDSC held a high–level meeting on Sept. 6 to discuss the situation in Rakhine State.