An interim report by the body set up by the government to investigate abuses in Rakhine State finds no evidence to support claims of ethnic cleansing, rape and arson.
The interim report of a commission set up by the government in Myanmar and chaired by the country’s Vice-President has found no evidence of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
Widespread allegations of abuse
Allegations of abuse against the Rohingya people, including torture, rape, arson and murder, have been circulating since the start of an army-led counter-insurgency campaign in October 2016.
ROHINGYACOUNCIL (@the_erc) December 23, 2016
In one YouTube video in widespread circulation, police are seen beating unarmed villagers.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s office has confirmed the authenticity of the footage and said that action would be taken against the officers concerned.
Rakhine State, which has long experienced violent instability, was e in October and November 2016 the site of a series of terrorist attacks against border and security forces, which left about a dozen dead.
It is home to the Rohingya Muslims, considered by many in Myanmar to be illegal immigrants, despite their presence in the state for many years.
The army’s treatment of the local population has prompted international outcry, including from the UN and NGOs.
A group of Nobel peace prize holders wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi to demand a government investigation, and in response a commission was established.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had visited the region in September to investigate reported abuses there.
Interim report findings
The commission’s interim report finds insufficient evidence to support the claims of rape and arson, and makes no mention at all of the most serious allegations of murder.
It also finds no evidence in support of allegations of ethnic cleansing, on the basis that many Rohingya Muslims continue to live in Rakhine State with their religious buildings intact.
Meanwhile, Rohingya Muslims continue to flee to Bangladesh in tens of thousands.