The Burmese government has formed a 27-member commission including political party leaders, former political prisoners, opposition leaders, Muslim and Buddhists religious leaders and others to recommend short and long-term solutions to the community unrest in Rakhine State.
Observers said the commission appeared to represent a wide spectrum of Burmese society.
The group is charged with determining the circumstances behind the unrest and recommending short and long-term strategies to overcome the community tensions and mistrust, which have led to violent clashes and the death of at least 87 people, prompting international calls for a credible investigation.
Dr. Myo Myint, a retired director general of Religious Affairs, will direct the commission comprised of six representatives from Muslim associations, two Christian clerics, a representative of a Hindu association and leaders of five political parties including two Rakhine political parties.
The commission includes prominent former political prisoners, a leader of the 88-student group, the well-known entertainer, Zarganar, a former UN officer, and representatives from ethnic political parties.
“The president wants to show the international community that he is trying his best to deal with this extraordinarily sensitive issue,” said Khun Htun Oo, who was appointed to the body, and was released from prison in January after a seven-year term. He leads an ethnic minority political party, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy,
Khin Maung Swe, a member of the commission, said he believed the president wanted “to find a suitable posture that is in accord with both human rights and the rights of indigenous people.”
The secretary of the commission, Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, is a member of Myanmar Egress. Members include Aung Tha Aung of the Arakan League for Democracy, Dr. Aye Maung of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, Ko Ko Gyi, an 88-generation student member, comedian Zarganar, journalist Maung Wun Tha, Khun Tun Oo of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Than Than Nu of the Democratic Party (Myanmar)], Khin Maung Swe of the National Democratic Force, Aung Naing Oo of the Vahu Development Institute and Tun Aung Chein of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission. The commission also comprises a law expert and a businessperson.
The body includes one Member of Parliament, Dr. Aye Maung.
Burmese authorities say 87 people have been killed and 127 injured since late May when riots and retaliatory attacks erupted after three Muslim men were blamed for the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman.
The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations pledged Saturday to lend necessary support in addressing humanitarian assistance needed in Rakhine State. Areas of the state are still under curfew.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the establishment of the commission, which “could make important contributions to restoring peace and harmony in the state and in creating a conducive environment for a more inclusive way forward to tackle the underlying causes of the violence, including the condition of the Muslim communities in Rakhine,” UN deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said.
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