Former United Nations Chief to Visit Arakan State as Part of Government Commission
Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan will meet with representatives from local governments and nongovernmental organizations in western Myanmar’s troubled Arakan (Rakhine) state next Tuesday to discuss the role of a special commission that will look into the state’s human rights situation, a Arakan(Rakhine) government official said Friday.
Kofi Annan, who was appointed chairman of the government’s new Arakan (Rakhine) state advisory commission last week by de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will be in Arakan (Rakhine) with the commission’s other eight members on Sept. 6 and 7, said state government spokesman Min Aung.
The commission is tasked with reviewing humanitarian and development issues, access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights, and the security of those who live in Arakan (Rakhine).
Among its other members are two international representatives, two Myanmar government representatives, and four Buddhists and Muslims from Myanmar.
“He [Annan] will explain to local people about the [commission’s] year-long agenda and how it will conduct its investigation,” he said. “It will be possible for local people to ask him questions about what they want to know. He will also meet with civil society organizations and Buddhist monks at state government offices.”
Annan is also expected to meet with representatives from the Arakan National Party (ANP), the state’s largest political party, the online journal The Irrawaddy reported.
The party has criticized the inclusion of Annan and two other foreign nationals on the panel, arguing that Arakan’s (Rakhine) situation should be handled domestically.
The ANP has also taken an uncompromising approach to the Arakanese Rohingya Muslim minority group which bore the brunt of anti-Muslim state sponsored violence in 2012 that left thousands of dead and tens of thousands displaced who were later forced to live in concentration camps where they remain today.
Many in Myanmar consider the Rohingya illegal immigrants, though they have lived in their ancestral land Arakan for generations. As a result, the Rohingya have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement, and access to basics services such as health care and education.
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