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.”
Seoul to counter close-range attack by N. Korea with new radar as tensions rise again on eve of key Pyongyang anniversary
Complaint filed in connection with killings of 1,400 people by death squad when he was mayor of Davao
With the threat of the measure looming, major manufacturers at the annual auto show in Shanghai are announcing big plans to boost their electric vehicle (EV) offerings in China.
Most North Korean refugees begin their escape by crossing into China and then try to make it to third countries -- often in Southeast Asia -- where they seek asylum in the South.
Twelve army officers, including two generals, have been sacked for negligence over a Taliban attack.
HRW has said that China should immediately disclose the whereabouts of eight North Korean refugees currently detained in China
"China is firmly supporting the denuclearisation of the area in the name of stability and peace", Wang Yi told reporters in Athens after meeting Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.
South Korean media reports arrest of Korean-American ex-professor in Pyongyang -- the third such arrest of US citizen
The strike group is in the region as tensions spike over North Korea's rogue arms programme and concerns that Pyongyang is planning a sixth nuclear test as it pursues its goal of a weapon capable of reaching the US mainland.
Massive poll turnout reflects confidence of Turks in Erdogan’s leadership, Hasina says in letter to Turkish president
Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
Turkey will continue to remain in solidarity with Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism: Turkish Foreign Ministry
'They wanted to kill us and throw our bodies into the river,' according to survivor
Officers said the middle-aged men, identified as Janjgava Revas, 64, and Narmania Malkhaz, 51, had made off with the money from a currency exchange office on Friday in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city.
The US has around 8,400 troops in the country with about another 5,000 from NATO allies assisting a much larger Afghan force in the war against the Taliban and other militants.
2 men sentenced to 7 years in prison for raising funds for terror group