A new government commission investigating human rights abuses in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is being criticized by skeptics a day after it was announced.
Human Rights Watch Spokesman Brad Adam told VOA Burmese, “The real power in the country is the army, not the government. Until the army agrees to allow the investigation by independent people then there is no chance of any situation like this.”
Adam said Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been complacent in covering up human rights abuses against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state that have forced about 700,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh in what the United Nations has called “textbook ethnic cleansing.”
The commission includes former Philippine deputy foreign minister Rosario Manalo and Japan’s U.N. representative Kenzo Oshima.
But Adam said if Aung San Suu Kyi wants “credibility” she should let the United Nations come independently to the country.
Critics have note the commission does not include anyone from Rakhine, any Muslims, or any experts who understand Bangladesh-Myanmar relations.
But U.S. based Analyst Dr. Tint Swe told VOA Burmese that Myanmar’s government made an “appropriate” decision to form this commission with two foreign diplomats as international pressure increased on the Rakhine issue, noting that they are “independent” as the government has claimed, given their lack of political affiliation.
Lower house Rakhine Lawmaker U Pe Than told VOA Burmese forming this commission may ease international pressure on Myanmar to address human rights abuses, but echoed Adam’s concerns that how the military responds or participates to the government investigation will be crucial in determining how effective it will be.