Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Final report of Kofi Annan commission on Rakhine State conflict due this week

The final report of the Rakhine Advisory Commission will include the facts and figures of the interim report as well as its recommendations, according to a local member of the commission.

Daw Saw Khin Tint said the final report will include the detailed information contained in the interim report, and she hoped the government would welcome the final report as it had the interim one.

“We cannot reveal the details of the final report before it is presented to the public,” she said.

The Rakhine Advisory Commission will present its final report on Thursday, less than two weeks before its one-year mandate expires on September 5.

According to the commission, the final report covers all the issues in the commission’s mandate, including conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, reconciliation, institution building, and development.

“The recommendations describe the steps the Myanmar Government can take to address both long-term and structural issues, as well as those requiring urgent action,” said the commission.

The government of Myanmar mandated the commission to propose recommendations for improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine State in September 2016.

The commission – composed of six national and three international experts and led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan – presented its 15-page interim report on March 16 with 30 recommendations for action that the Myanmar government can take to immediately improve the situation in Rakhine. Annan is expected to join the press conference in Yangon on August 24.

The commission’s interim report made recommendations on, among other things, humanitarian and media access, justice and rule of law, border issues and bilateral relationships with Bangladesh, socioeconomic development, training of security forces, citizenship and freedom of movement, closure of IDP camps, cultural issues, inter-communal dialogue, representation and participation in public life and regional relations, as some ways to ease tensions in conflict areas.

Daw Saw Khin Tint said the government cooperated as much as possible with the commission.

The Office of the State Counsellor said the extremists are stepping up their terrorist activities in the region while the government is striving, with both long-term and short-term plans, to resolve the issues between the two communities, including provision of humanitarian assistance from both international and domestic sources, and development of basic infrastructure in the region.

According to the office, 59 innocent people were murdered and 33 went missing in Maungdaw district from October 2016 through August 9, and the extremists are making death threats to prevent people from cooperating with the government and disrupt the national verification process and peace and security in the region.

It said the curfew in Maungdaw district has been extended for two months and 11 villages in Rathedaung township started a curfew on August 11 to control security.

Just over a year after the violent attacks in Maungdaw district, the government has found many challenges that need to be addressed, especially security challenges, said U Thaung Tun.

He added that the government remains committed to making a concerted effort to fully address issues in Rakhine and implement the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s commission.

“The government remains committed to building long-term peace and stability and seeking a durable solution in Rakhine,’’ he said.

The Rakhine community has complained that the report is biased and has weaknesses.

U Tun Aung Aung Kyaw, secretary of the Arakan National Party in Sittwe township, said most people in Rakhine do not accept Kofi Annan’s commission and that most of its recommendations are not about the Rakhine community.

“We will make objections if we dislike or see as unfair the recommendations in the commission’s report,” he said.

The Maungdaw Investigation commission, led by Vice President U Myint Swe, enumerated 48 recommendations to the government, including the formation of a high-level committee to implement its suggestions and urged the government to take urgent action and implement a long-term plan to address the situation in Rakhine.

It recommended that section 144 and curfew orders remain in place with adjustments because intimidation and killings by terrorists continue, more terrorist training camps are being uncovered, and more people are being arrested.

“Efforts to guarantee the fundamental rights of the people will need to strike a balance with requirements of other sectors,” said the report.