|Panel report on Rohingya a cover-up attempt|
|Human rights groups have claimed that Myanmar’s government is trying to cover up abuses against civilians in a Muslim-majority part of Rakhine State and the matter is too serious to be ignored.
Tens of thousands of helpless Rohingya have fled a military operation in the northwestern state, launched after attacks on police posts in October.
Dozens have died in the crackdown.
Horrendous tales of gang rape, torture, summary executions and even merciless killing of a pregnant woman among others have emerged.
The destruction of homes and mosques forced tens of thousands to flee their villages and the subsequent blockade in the region also left many in the area facing acute shortages of food, water and essentials.
While Myanmar’s government has flatly denied allegations that abuses have been committed, the question remains why it prevented independent journalists and aid workers from accessing parts of northern Rakhine.
Now, a commission appointed by the government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has issued interim findings refuting allegations of abuses by security forces.
Surprisingly, this has come even while the authorities are still investigating police abuses after a video emerged showing officers beating and kicking Rohingya villagers.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, has stated that the panel is looking more and more like the Myanmar government whitewash mechanism.
It may not be a mere coincidence that the panel chair Vice President Myint Swe is a former army lieutenant general.
The panel has made a questionable suggestion that the increasing population of Islamic scholars, mosques and religious edifices is proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.
One wonders how the mere presence of mosques could mean that the Rohingya are not being persecuted.
Matthew Smith, founder of campaign group Fortify Rights, has also made it clear that the commission’s report is sharply at odds with accounts collected by researchers interviewing civilians in northern Rakhine and those who have fled to Bangladesh.
As a top UN official recently warned, the Myanmar government’s short-sighted, counterproductive and even callous approach to the handling of the crisis could have grave long-term repercussions for the country and the region.
The Myanmar government should take concrete measures to prevent the further deterioration of the crisis in Rakhine state.
Rohingya Muslims have suffered discrimination and humiliation for too long. Failure to rectify the situation cannot be accepted as an answer anymore.
Source by: http://gulftoday.ae/portal/55843dc3-f492-4256-8b0c-ad56a64d446c.aspx