Burma: National Commission Denies Atrocities

Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe, chairman of Maungdaw Investigation Commission, talks to journalists during a press conference of their final report on Rakhine state investigation at a government guest house Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, in Yangon, Myanmar. The Myanmar government’s inquiry into violence in northern Rakhine state last year that forced tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh and led to U.N. accusations of crimes against humanity by the army has concluded that no such crimes happened. ()

© 2017 AP/Thein Zaw

(New York) – A Burmese government commission has dismissed allegations of serious human rights violations by security forces in Rakhine State without a credible basis, Human Rights Watch said today. On August 6, 2017, the National Investigation Commission on Rakhine State, headed by Vice President Myint Swe, held a news conference on their findings into alleged abuses against ethnic Rohingya, following a nine-month domestic inquiry.

The commission’s wholesale rejection of grave abuses despite considerable evidence from independent sources, coupled with the Burmese army’s earlier inadequate investigation, demonstrates the urgent need for the government to allow full access to the United Nations-mandated, international fact-finding mission, Human Rights Watch said.

“The commission’s findings are just the latest attempt to sweep under the rug the massive abuses against the Rohingya last year,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These atrocities aren’t going to disappear, so the sooner the UN fact-finding mission is allowed into Burma, the sooner those responsible can be identified and redress provided to the victims.”

In a summary of its report obtained by Human Rights Watch, the commission concludes it could not confirm cases of rape, gang rape, torture, and killings in the villages it visited. The commission found that 1152 buildings were destroyed in 13 villages, but said it was too difficult to establish who set fire to the buildings. The report noted that in February and March, 21 cases were filed in court for murder, rape, arson, destruction of evidence, loss of property and wrongful death, but every complaint was dismissed after an investigation, saying that some complaints were fabricated.

The Investigation Commission on Rakhine State’s inept inquiry provides the strongest case yet…

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