Independent panel on Rakhine state starts work

  • A Myanmar border policeman stands guard near the border fence in ‘no man’s land’. Photo – EPA
The independent commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar starts work today amid call by the United Nations’ fact-finding mission for the prosecution of senior military leaders for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity, according to the Myanmar Times Online.

Philippine senior diplomat Rosana Manalo who heads the panel, is due to meet today in Nay Pyi Taw with the three other commission members to discuss details of how to go about the investigation.

The commission might visit Rakhine state, said U Aung Kyaw Zan, deputy permanent secretary in the International Cooperation Minister’s office.

The other commission members are Kenzo Oshima, Japan’s permanent representative to UN and former UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs; U Mya Thein, former chair of the Constitutional Tribunal of Myanmar; and U Aung Tun Thet, former senior official of Unicef and former principal officer of the UN System Staff College.

On Monday, the UN fact-finding mission said it has enough evidence to demand the investigation of top military officers, including Commander-in-Chief for Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win, among others.

In the report, the mission said it found patterns of gross human rights violations and abuses committed in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states by the military and other security forces that amounted to gravest crimes under international law.

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