Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Politicians, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urge government to up security in conflict-prone Rakhine State

Staff at Kyauktaw Township Hospital in Rakhine State tend to a Rakhine man shot through the leg on Thursday, October 25, 2012. (Kaung Htet / The Myanmar Times)Staff at Kyauktaw Township Hospital in Rakhine State tend to a Rakhine man shot through the leg on Thursday, October 25, 2012. (Kaung Htet / The Myanmar Times)

Ethnic politicians and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have urged the government to be more transparent over its handling of the Rakhine crisis and for humanitarian aid to be made available to both the Rakhine and Rohingya communities.

In a statement released on November 7 following renewed violence last month, they also said the government should take legal action “against individuals and organisations that control from behind or abet” those carrying out acts of violence.

The statement also urged the government to promptly increase security forces in areas prone to conflict and to recognise the worries and anxiety the conflict has caused Rakhine people.

“The clear-cut policies of the government in respect of the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law … and the Rakhine conflict should also be made public for the sake of transparency. It should be clearly made known to the public how the government will handle citizenship issues and the Rakhine conflict. Humanitarian aid for all in need should be arranged as soon as possible and in a way that is acceptable to both sides,” the statement said.

“The governments of two countries bordering each other are also responsible for border security and immigration … both countries should take responsibility and be accountable in this regard. Both countries should carefully take security measures to protect against border crossings,” it said.

The statement was released following discussions between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is chair of the Pyithu Hluttaw’s Rule of Law, Stability and Peace Committee, and ethnic representatives at Nay Pyi Taw City Development Council’s guesthouse on November 5.

The meeting was organised because of renewed violence in Rakhine State from October 21 to 30 that left 89 dead and 136 injured. About 5300 houses were destroyed with more than 32,000 people homeless as a result.

“I think all ethnic groups should get involved because the Rakhine issue concerns the entire country. We believe that everyone has to help breed a spirit of unity so as to face and tackle the problems in their own country,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told The Myanmar Times on November 6.

“Military rule may be needed in an exceptional situation but … the most important thing we need to do is to return the situation to normal very quickly,” she said.

 “This Rakhine issue will not be resolved easily … I always say that we need to take care of rule of law and safety first. How can people think about the problems calmly unless they can live in safety?” she added.

Translated by Zar Zar Soe