World Bulletin / News Desk
A Myanmar government commission has rejected United Nations' claims that an anti-Muslim massacre took place in the west of the country in January.
The investigation into violence in the country’s Rakhine State earlier this year, claims that there is no evidence of any Muslim deaths, despite U.N. claims to the contrary.
In January the U.N. said it had evidence that at least 48 Muslims were killed when Buddhist mobs attacked a village in Rakhine. It called on the government to carry out a swift, impartial investigation and to hold those responsible accountable.
The report echoes a position the Myanmar government has taken since the claims first emerged from Du Chee Yar Tan, a village of some 4,000 people in Maungdaw Township, near the Bangladesh border.
The commission interviewed 175 residents in mid-February, and was chaired by Thar Hla Shwe of the Myanmar Red Cross Society.
Speaking at a press conference in the Myanmar capital, Rangoon, he said: “Where are the bodies? Where are the dead bodies buried? Nobody could tell us.”
Kyaw Yin Hlaing, an advisor to Myanmar’s President Thein Sein and the secretary of the commission, said that conflict had taken place after a Rakhine Buddhist police officer went missing, but denied that anyone had died other than the policeman.
The U.N. believes that after the officer disappeared, security forces carried out raids on homes owned by Rohingya, a largely stateless group of Muslims who live in Rakhine.
The raid was ostensibly to find the officer, but descended into a massacre involving security forces and Rakhine villagers, according to the U.N.
“If I had to choose between believing a Myanmar government report and a U.N. report, I would rather believe the U.N. one,” Phil Robertson, the deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch told the Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
He added that the Myanmar government's commission “has been established long after the fact and has worked in a way which is neither transparent nor credible."
“I would like to see under what conditions the interviews were done. For instance, whether they interviewed Rohingya villagers in the presence of security personnel,” he said.
The Rohingya are denied citizenship and erroneously described by Myanmar’s government as “Bengalis,” reflecting the widespread myth that most are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The report also recommended that Rohingya be granted citizenship so they can administer their own communities.
A 1982 citizenship law is regarded by Human Rights activists in the region as a tool used to strip Rohingya of their citizenship rights.
But Hlar Shwe said that many Rohingya would become citizens if the law were implemented properly.
Robertson told AA Wednesday that under the law “the number of eligible Rohingya would be very small.”
The march headed towards the museum where a memorial for the victims of the attack will be inaugurated
Slovenian President Borut Pahor has said ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit Monday, Slovenia supports Turkey's EU membership
Arab leaders said Saudi-led operation would continue until the Iranian-allied Houthis withdraw. They also announced the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya.
Collation of results continues and final results are not expected until Monday
Tens of thousands of Tunisians marched through the capital in a show of solidarity against museum attack on Sunday, hours after the government said its forces had killed nine members of a group suspected of carrying out this month's Bardo Museum attack.
According a port official, a Chinese warship approach the port of Aden to evacuate nationals.
An Israeli court has issued an order to demolish Palestinian village Susya and relocate its residents. The village was built even before the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
At least 15 people wounded from anti-aircraft missiles shrapnel used by Houthis against warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition in Western Yemen
According to a Yemeni NGO Mwatana Organization for Human Rights (MOHR), at least 27 civilians – including 15 children – were killed in Yemen's Sanaa province.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has fired Ahmed Ali Saleh who is son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Tunisian security forces have killed a senior Algerian suspected who they accuse of helping orchestrate the Bardo museum attack which targeted foreign tourists, Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid said on Sunday.
According to tribal sources, 40 Houthis killed in clashes with tribesmen.
Netanyahu says expected Iranian nuclear deal even worse than Israel feared.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says, Russia will help Palestine become an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
Thousands of Palestinian athletes turned out for the third Palestine Marathon on Friday
Palestinian faction Hamas said in a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for Palestinian divisions.