Kofi Annan visits Rakhine State to probe Rohingya crisis

Kofi Annan visits Rakhine State to probe Rohingya crisis

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Bankok – Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived on Tuesday in the Burmese state of Rakhine as head of a commission that is probing the root of the crisis faced by the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority community in Myanmar.
At the Sittwe airport, the Ghanaian diplomat, who served as the seventh UN Secretary-General (1997-2006), was greeted with a demonstration by Buddhist protesters who panned his presence in the state as foreign interference in domestic affairs, reported the Myanmar Times.It is not clear yet if Annan, who was received at the airport by Rakhine state authorities, will meet representatives of the Arakan National Party, which opposed the creation of the committee, during his two-day visit.
The committee has also been opposed by the Union Solidarity and Development Association party, formed by the last military junta, which ruled the country between 2010-2011.
“My experience has shown me that peaceful democracy and peaceful society can be built on three things: sustainable development, peace and security, and respect for rule of law and human rights,” Annan said after arriving in the country, according to the Myanmar Times.
Annan chairs the committee that advises the Arakan state (former name of Rakhine) that was set up on Aug. 23 by Aung San Suu Kyi, the de-facto leader of the Myanmar government, to address the Rohingya crisis.
The committee also includes Dutch diplomat Laetitia van den Assum, Lebanese scholar and political scientist Ghassan Salame Lebanese and six Burmese (two Buddhists and two Muslims and two officials).
Annan, who promised rigorous impartiality, said Tuesday, they are aware of the challenges and the suffering of the Rohingya community.
According to the UN, the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world and are stateless because neither Myanmar, nor Bangladesh, accept them as citizens.
Moreover, the Burmese administration has not included the Rohingyas in the list of ethnic groups in the country, despite the fact that nearly 1.2 million of them live in Rakhine state, including around half a million, who were issued with temporary identity documents until 2015.
More than 120,000 Rohingyas live in overcrowded camps in Rakhine since the outbreak of sectarian violence in June 2012, which left 167 dead in the state.
Suu Kyi said on Monday she was committed to tackle and resolve the crisis.
Annan arrived in Myanmar on Monday and will visit Rakhine on Tuesday and Wednesday, during which he is expected to meet with local authorities and speak to the displaced. – World News Report via EIN ews

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