Press Release

31 August, 2018

 

Independent  Commission  of  Enquiry  (ICOE)  held  their  second  meeting from 29 to 31 August 2018. ICOE is tasked to investigate allegations of human rights violations and related issues following the terrorist attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in Rakhine State with a view to seeking accountability and formulating recommendations on steps to be taken to ensure peace and stability in Rakhine State.

On 29 and 30 August 2018, the Commission met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Vice- Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Union Minister for Home Affairs, and U Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for the  Office  of  the  State  Counsellor.  They  also  had  a  working  lunch  with  the representatives from Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

ICOE  appreciated  the  openness  of  the  Deputy  Commander-in-Chief  of Defence Services and Union Minister for Home Affairs in sharing of information. They were heartened by the assurance of their full cooperation to the work of ICOE and also welcomed their commitment to provide safe and secure passage to the sites to be visited.

 

There  was  a  frank  and  open  exchange  of  information  and  discussions  on Rakhine State such as background history of Rakhine State, the current situation in Rakhine, the related works of the government in Rakhine State, the progress of work between Myanmar and Bangladesh governments and the work and objectives of  ICOE during the courtesy calls. ICOE reiterated their commitment to ensure that the rule of law prevails, seek accountability and promote reconciliation.

 

On 31 August 2018, ICOE made a day trip to the affected areas in the Northern  Rakhine  to  have  an  understanding  of  the  prevailing  environment.  They toured  the  villages  in  the  Maungtaw  region  such  as  Nga  Khu  Ya,  General Administrative Department and Shwe Zar. During the visit, the Commission met with Rakhine  Chief  Minister  and  was  briefed  on  the  government’s  efforts  for  the repatriation process for the displaced persons who crossed over to Bangladesh after the terrorist attacks on 16 October 2016 and 25 August 2017 by ARSA in line with the principle of “voluntary, safe and dignified return” under the “Arrangement” signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh governments on 23 November 2017.

 

The   activities   of   the   Union   Enterprise   for   Humanitarian   Assistance, Resettlement, and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) and their ten taskforces was also elaborated.

 

ICOE inspected one of the Reception Centres for returnees to understand the process of verification and to see first-hand the preparedness of Myanmar for the returnees. ICOE  Members  also  took  time  to  dialogue  with  the  different communities in the various villages in Northern Rakhine namely Rakhines, Muslims and  Hindus  living  in  mixed  villages.  They  also  spoke  to  some  survivors  and  their family-members of the terrorists’ attacks of 25-26 October 2016.

 

ICOE met with a family of eight (8) members who had returned to Myanmar on their own volition and not under the “Arrangement”. They had candid discussions on their experiences prior and after their return.

 

This second meeting of ICOE was very productive and allowed for more substantive  discussions  to  take  place.  The  field  visit  also  provided  them  the opportunity to have better understanding of the situation on the ground and to hear the voices of the different communities.

 

Office of the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) Nay Pyi Taw

31 August 2018

Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE)

National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC)

Zayyar Aung Myay Street, Wunna Theikdi Quarter

Zabu Thiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

info@icoe-myanmar.org 

© 2018 by ICOE-Myanmar.