Myanmar tensions- former UN chief Annan warns on Rakhine radicalisation

August 24, 2017 | By | Reply More

The panel, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, says a response combining political, security and developmental initiatives is needed to ensure violence does not escalate.

myanmar tensions- former UN chiefIt also suggests lifting restrictions on the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Rakhine has seen deadly clashes between Muslims and majority Buddhists. The state, in western Myanmar, is home to more than a million Rohingya Muslims.

Tensions with the Buddhist population have been rumbling for years, and tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, accusing Myanmar authorities of ethnic persecution.

The United Nations has accused Myanmar’s military of committing atrocities during a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last year. The military rejects the allegations.

‘Calibrated approach’

The Rakhine Commission was formed by Mr Annan last year to look into ethnic reconciliation and improving the state’s welfare, at the request of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In its report released on Thursday, it said communities in Rakhine were scared of each other and that segregation caused by the violence had made things worse.

“Unless current challenges are addressed promptly, further radicalisation within both communities is a real risk,” it said.

“What is needed is a calibrated approach – one that combines political, developmental, security and human rights responses to ensure that violence does not escalate and inter-communal tensions are kept under control.”

It urged the government to increase investment in Rakhine to help alleviate poverty, and recommended restrictions on freedom of movement be ended.

At the moment Rohingya displaced by the violence are effectively confined to camps. Communities also face self-imposed restrictions based on fear, something the panel said hindered growth and a return to better relations.

It also recommended reviewing the citizenship law, which currently does not recognise Rohingya as Myanmar citizens. This, it said, had left them marginalised and deprived of political influence, causing frustration.

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Category: International

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