Annan commission to submit final report this month

Kofi Annan appears at a press conference hosted by the Advisory Commission in Yangon. Photo: Jacob Goldberg

The Rakhine State Advisory Commission is expected to submit its final report to the office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi by the middle of this month following almost a year of observing conflict and inequality in Myanmar’s westernmost province.

The report is now being finalized in Geneva, according to commission member Aye Lwin.

Aye Lwin told Anadolu Agency last week that the report will include recommendations for a durable solution to conflicts between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and stateless Rohingya Muslims.

However, he said, it will not include comments on alleged human rights violations by Myanmar security forces against the Rohingya, which began after a Rohingya rebel group killed nine police officers in northern Rakhine State last October.

“The commission’s mandate is to just find out the root cause of the problems, not to investigate the rights violations by the security forces,” he said.

The human rights violations are being investigated by a separate commission appointed by the State Counsellor, which is led by Myanmar vice president Myint Swe, a former army general. The commission previously reported that it has found no cases of genocide or religious persecution against Muslims in northern Rakhine State, and it has claimed there is insufficient evidence to take action against soldiers accused of rape, despite detailed reports of rape compiled by the UN.

The advisory commission, which is led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, submitted an interim report in March, which calls for human rights training for soldiers, the closure of IDP camps, and Muslim representation in local administrations.

Few of these recommendations have been carried out. The Rakhine State government began closing three IDP camps in April, but many of their Muslim residents were forcibly moved to Yangon rather than to their original villages in Rakhine State.

Critics of the Myanmar government’s failure to enact peace and justice in Rakhine State are now calling on Kofi Annan to seek guarantees from Aung San Suu Kyi that the commission’s recommendations will be heeded.

“Kofi Annan needs to get directly involved now to get renewed commitments from Suu Kyi and her government that all of the commission’s recommendations will be supported and implemented,” Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson told Anadolu Agency.

“He must be very clear that any effort to sideline or drop the final report’s conclusions and recommendations will be met with strong and continuous denunciation by the commission and its supporters in the international community.”

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