Date: 23 March 2017
Mr. Kofi Annan led Advisory Commission must not be mistaken as an alternative to U.N. led Commission of Inquiry
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) welcomes the recommendations made by Mr. Kofi Annan led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. However, under no circumstances, it must serve to prevent the UN led independent fact-finding Commission to Rakhine State.
Mr. Kofi Annan led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State has called for unimpeded access for humanitarian workers and international media to the affected areas in Northern Rakhine. The Advisory Commission’s recommendation of relocating the IDPs from the camps to their original homes is also worthy of immediate implementation. Rohingya should be able to live in peace and pursue their livelihood like any other inhabitants of Rakhine State. It is the obligation of the current government to provide safe and security to its people.
In the light of serious allegations of crimes committed by Myanmar armed forces against Rohingya since October last year, the Advisory Commission has called on the government of Myanmar, to ensure the perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable based on independent and impartial investigation.
Nevertheless, the Commission operated and made recommendations in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Law which is used to deny Rohingya citizenship and basic human rights. The Commission supported the process of the discriminatory and intimidating National Verification Cards (NVCs) where Rohingya are forced to declare themselves as ‘Bengali’. This severely violates the right to self-identification of the Rohingya, which remains the root cause of the dehumanizing of Rohingya in Myanmar.
Burma’s name was changed to Myanmar in 1989 by the unelected military regime and therefore lacked legitimacy. Still the international community and UN have accepted the name ‘Myanmar’ relying on the principal that every country, group or individual has the right to name itself as it wishes. Based on this principle, the Advisory Commission also violates the very basic right to self-identification by referring Rohingya as ‘Muslims of Arakan’. It must be noted that this Commission serves only as an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State with no investigatory role.
Myanmar and all its handpicked Commissions of Inquiry have repeatedly declared all atrocities including rape as fabrication and exaggeration. None of the Commissions formed by the governments since 2012, have so far admitted or accepted the allegations despite the fact that numerous credible audio, video and photographic evidence of the atrocities are available.
The sudden willingness of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to follow and implement only some of the Kofi Annan led Commission’s recommendations is no wonder a deceptive strategy of Myanmar to defuse the mounting pressure at the world stage. Recent UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Raád al-Hussein backed by UN special Rapporteur Ms. Yanghee Lee sought for an urgent setting up of a full international Commission of Inquiry into the findings of recent atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya in Rakhine State. Timing of releasing Kofi Annan’s recommendation and subsequent Myanmar government acceptance on it raises serious doubt on the sincerity and willingness of the government.
The recommendation is welcoming to a certain extent, but great cautions must be taken by the international community to ascertain if Myanmar is acting not to escape from the confronting UN fact-finding mission.
It is the utmost priority of the UN and all member states of the Human Rights Council to make sure that UN led probe into the recent violence against Rohingya in Rakhine State is done as soon as possible. It is of great importance to bring the UN’s attention on the 423 prisoners locked down without any legal access or assistance.
The military hold them arbitrarily without having evidence but pursuing their own agenda of genocide; to wipe them out ending with killing the detainees and close their files, thus hiding the evidence before the looming of UN led crimes investigation. Therefore, we urge the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to persuade Myanmar government to bring them to trial in presence of an UN observer.
We appreciate the announcement by the European Union to call for an international fact-finding mission to Myanmar. We must be fair to all parties; to Rohingya and Myanmar government. All of them are entitled to know the truth. The UN led independent investigation is also an opportunity for Myanmar government to prove itself of all were right with them. We strongly urge all 47 members of UNHRC to mandate a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against Rohingya perpetrated by Burmese military in northern Rakhine State to ascertain the group is free from prejudice and moral failure.
For more information:
Dr. Anita Schug; +4915750685496; firstname.lastname@example.orgSpokesperson
The European Rohingya Council