Sittwe, 29 August 2016:
The Arakan National Party (ANP) demanded the government to call off the Advisory Commission for dealing with Arakan State affairs. The ANP, in a statement issued on 25 August, raised its demand against the Commission to be led by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, which was formed on Wednesday by the Burmese government.
“The problem arising in Arakan is an internal affair for us and we do not want the interference from any outsiders. Because the foreigners may find it difficult to understand the background and also the present situation in Arakan,” said ANP president Dr Aye Maung.
Not only the ANP but also few other political parties of Myanmar including Union Solidarity & Development Party (USDA) and National Democratic Force (NDF) recently issued statements expressing their concern over the formation of the Commission with foreigners as experts.
“All foreigners in the Commission are former UN officials. However, many of UN officials including Ibrahim Gambari, Tomás Ojea Quintana and the present UN special rapporteur on Myanmar human rights affairs Yanghee Lee had faced severe criticism for their failure to maintain neutrality on various Arakan issues. They were proved to be biased for Bengali Muslim people of Arakan,” asserted Dr Aye Maung.
Answering to the query of Narinjara News about their actions if the government ignores their demand, Dr Aye Maung argued that they have a huge populace behind them and they would carry out actions through three Parliamentary channels (Upper, Lower and State Parliament) in need.
Recently 13 State level lawmakers from the ANP had asked the Arakan Speaker to hold an emergency meeting in the Parliament to discuss about the Advisory Commission.
U Zaw Htay, deputy director general of ministry of State counselor’s office informed that the Commission was formed with nine members. The members, six local experts and three outside specialists, were selected with four criteria including impartiality, respectability, popularity and reputation.
The Commission supposes to submit their findings along with suggestions to the government through State counselors within 12 months.
The Commission will have the responsibility to guarantee the safety & basic human rights of the Rakhine people, provide humanitarian aid & development services, take preventive measures against conflicts, initiate reconciliation, undertake humanitarian infrastructure projects and review the backgrounds of the oversea refugees and also their countries of origin.
There are two Yangon based Arakanese nationals namely U Win Mra, who chairs Burma’s National Human Rights Commission and Daw Saw Khin Tint, who chairs Arakan Literature & Cultural Association and also the vice-chair of Arakan Women’s Association in the nine-member Commission.
Two Muslim nationals namely Al Haj U Aye Lwin and U Khin Maung Lay, member of National Human Rights Commission will serve the Commission as Muslim representatives.
The Burmese government’s delegates includes two doctors namely Thar Hla Shwe, president of Burma’s Red Cross Society and Mya Thida, president of Obstetrical & Gynecological Society of Burma. Three foreign experts include former UN chief Kofi Annan, Lebanon based scholar and the then advisor to the UN chief Ghassan Salamé and the Netherlands based diplomat and a former UN adviser Laetitia Vanden Assum.