Myanmar commission dismisses claims of abuse against Rohingya

A government-appointed commission on Sunday cleared Myanmar security forces of systematic rape, murder and arson against Rohingya Muslims, dismissing UN allegations of widespread abuses during a recent crackdown. The commission examined the deadly violence which began in northwestern Rakhine State in October last year after attacks by on police posts near the Bangladesh border that the government blamed on “Rohingya insurgents”. The government is refusing to allow a UN fact-finding team to conduct its own probe into whether the security response amounted to “ethnic cleansing” of the stateless Rohingya minority.
Giving their conclusions on Sunday, the state-backed commission said it found no evidence that Myanmar security forces carried out a systematic campaign of rape, murder or arson. Instead any “excessive actions” were likely committed by low-rank “individual members of the security forces”. “Some incidents (of abuse) appeared to be fabricated… others had little evidence,” according to a press release by the commission. It also took aim at a detailed report by the UN’s Human Rights Office released in February this year. That report said it was “very likely” that crimes against humanity had been committed during the crackdown. Based on interviews with 204 witnesses who fled to Bangladesh, the UN alleged Myanmar security forces gang-raped Rohingya women, butchered children and tortured men. But “no such cases were uncovered” by the government commission, which said the UN findings lacked balance and failed to recognise the gravity of the attacks on its forces.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is a nobel peace prize winner, is blocking a visit by a UN team. She says the government commission is an adequate response to the violence, which left scores dead and displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya to Bangladesh.

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