The Irrawaddy

Military Pledges Cooperation with Commission of Inquiry on Rakhine

Myanmar Army troops patrol the Kyinkanpyin area in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township near the Bangladesh border on Oct. 16, 2016.

YANGON — Myanmar’s military said it would cooperate fully with the Independent Commission of Inquiry for Rakhine, which recently began its investigation into allegations of human rights violations and related issues in the restive region.

Vice Senior General Soe Win said at a meeting with commission members on Wednesday in Naypyitaw that “the military is on standby to offer full cooperation with the commission.”

According to state media, the deputy commander-in-chief also told the commission that the military provided evidence of the situation in Rakhine to a United Nations Security Council team that visited Myanmar, as well as to all diplomats who have met with Army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. All of the information was released in a timely manner to local and international media, he said.

Despite this, he said, the military has found that the international community has a weak understanding of the real situation in Rakhine.

On Aug. 15, the four-member commission launched its investigation into claims against Myanmar’s security forces following the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)’s attacks in northern Rakhine, and related issues. It met with government ministers and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Aug. 14.

State media reported that at Wednesday’s meeting, the commission’s chairwoman, Philippine diplomat Rosario Malano, said the commission was committed to conducting its investigation based on evidence.

Following the meeting with the military, the commission members met with the State Counselor again on Thursday in Naypyitaw.

The military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party earlier objected to the inclusion of foreign experts in the commission, viewing it as foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the country.

Senior military leaders including Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Vice Snr-Gen Soe Win are named in a recently released UN fact-finding mission’s report that calls for genocide charges against the country’s military leadership over its actions against Rohingya Muslims.