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 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight crashed into a hillside after one of its two turboprop engines failed while travelling from the city of Chitral to the capital, and burst into flames killing everyone on board.
China should "build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile" to protect its interests, should Trump attempt to corner the country in an "unacceptable way", it said.
The fighting broke out after the seven men, who were travelling through the mountainous region by foot, refused to stop for a search, according to the military officer who requested anonymity.
Bill English to replace John Key who resigned after 8 years in office
Brings number of workers to die in such coal mine accidents in over past week to 64
The motion, which accuses Park of constitutional and criminal violations ranging from a failure to protect people's lives to bribery and abuse of power, will be put to a full vote of the National Assembly on Friday.
No immediate reports of casualties, damage in region where at least 1 died in temblor last month
Analysts say the recent bout of unrest in Shan threatens the second round of peace talks she had scheduled for February and has strengthened the role of the army, who still control key levers of power.
The aircraft issued a Mayday call at 4:14 pm (1114 GMT) Wednesday before losing radar contact and crashing, with villagers saying the pilot dragged falling plane to the hills instead of a local village
Pakistani authorities say 47 people on board plane that crashed after leaving capital Islamabad
Fresh fighting breaks out between gov’t troops, ISIL-inspired group that occupied part of town in Muslim south last month
Aceh official says at least 500 receiving treatment at Sigli town hospital after strong quake topples dozens of buildings
The Fugro Equator, one of four vessels involved in the search, remains in the 120,000 square-kilometre (46,000-square-mile) zone where investigators believe the Malaysian Airlines jet went down.
The young man, who was 17 when he was arrested by police last year, pleaded guilty to one charge of committing an act, or planning the preparation of an act, of terror.
Kofi Annan says discussed Rakhine Buddhist-Rohingya Muslim reconciliation, citizenship, development with Myanmar gov’t
Hun Sen says US quick to criticize protest-related rights issues in Cambodia, but downplaying protests after Trump’s win