USDP Proposes Suu Kyi Lead Rakhine Investigation

By Htet Naing Zaw 7 June 2018

NAYPYITAW — The opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has urged State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to head the government’s independent investigation commission to investigate the issues in Rakhine State.

The President’s Office announced on May 31 that it would establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations and related issues following attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

The commission will consist of three people including an international member, and be assisted by local and international legal and technical experts.

“I would suggest that [the commission] be headed by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not lower in rank than the so-called international member, and comprise local legal experts and eminent persons,” USDP lawmaker U Maung Myint told the Union Parliament on Wednesday as he seconded his peer USDP lawmaker U Sai Kyaw Moe’s proposal.

In his urgent proposal, U Sai Kyaw Moe urged the government to establish the commission only with local experts in order to show respect for the sovereignty of the state and integrity of its citizens.

U Maung Myint suggested that if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is busy with other state duties, she can assign it to ex-general Thura U Shwe Mann, who was a parliamentary speaker and is now the chairman of the Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission, and former Maj-Gen U Khin Aung Myint, who was also a parliamentary speaker and is now an Upper House lawmaker.

“If we accept foreign intervention in the internal affairs of our country, it will only increase and undermine the sovereignty of our country over time. So, I call for it [forming the commission with local eminent persons] in consideration of national interests,” he added.

U Sai Kyaw Moe said it is not fair to only investigate what happened after the ARSA attacks, but that the investigation should start with the attacks.

Relying on foreign personalities only further complicates the problem, he said, citing the example of the Rakhine State Advisory Commission led by Kofi Annan.

A United Nations Security Council delegation visited Myanmar in early May and urged the government to launch a transparent investigation into human right violations in line with the law.

Although the government previously resisted the international community’s interference in Rakhine issue, it seems to have come under considerable pressure as the issue has reached the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court, which is likely why it decided to include an eminent person acceptable to the international community, said Rakhine affairs analyst U Maung Maung Soe.

“I think the government should exercise caution as it is a sensitive issue that has reached the international stage. Rather than discussing the question of if a foreigner should be included in the commission, we have to create a situation that is acceptable to the international community,” said U Maung Maung Soe.

The Lower House approved discussion of the USDP’s urgent proposal, and the debate is scheduled for Friday.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.