POST TIME: 29 January, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 28 January, 2017 11:27:53 PM
Int’l pressure ‘must sustain’ to end Rohingya crisis
Annan Commission members on 4-day Bangladesh visit

Int’l pressure ‘must sustain’ 
to end Rohingya crisis

The position of Myanmar appears to be softening with regard to atrocities against Rohingya Muslims by the military following widespread condemnations from across the world and certain degree of international pressure, diplomats have told The Independent. At the same time, however, they cautioned that it is always difficult to read the Myanmarese minds and laid great emphasis on continued international pressure on Myanmar for any solution to the protracted problem. There have been some soft tones coming out from the movers and shakers of the new democracy dominated by military, but those rhetoric have to the translated into reality, they added.
Though not enthusiastic about the formation of Myanmar’s Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, headed by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the diplomats sees the visit of three members of the ‘Annan Commission’, as it has come to be known, to Bangladesh as encouraging. The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State has been found at the behest of the Ministry of the Office of the Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation, which aims to propose concrete measures for improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine state, according to the website of the commission. It is composed of six local and three international experts. Three members of the commission -- Win Mra, Aye Lwin and Ghassan Salamé – are currently in the capital on a four-day trip to see for themselves the situation in Cox’s, which was forced to welcome about 66,0000 new Rohingyas following the military crackdown that began in October, 2016.
“We have heard enough rhetoric from the Myanmar side. Now, it’s time to deliver and I hope they will do that,” said Ambassador Humayun Kabir, a former Secretary to the foreign ministry.
“The rhetoric must be translated into reality without wasting any more time. The Rohingyas have suffered enough,” he said, adding that Bangladesh should continue engaging with the international community to keep up the pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis.
“I like to believe that Myanmar’s position has shifted a bit in the recent days. Regarding atrocities by the military, they appear to be shifting their position from outright denial. Previously, they used to deny outright all the allegations of killing, rape, torture and burning,” said a senior diplomat.
“As you know, when it comes to Myanmar you never know,” he hastened to add. Another diplomat said that on January 23, Myanmar’s deputy defence chief Rear admiral Myint Nwe urged the world to give his government ‘time and space’ to solve the crisis and his government is fully aware of the growing concern about the situation in Rakhine State. And, he said that the government was committed to address the issue and punish wrongdoers, said the diplomat. Pointing to a write up by Myanmar’s national security adviser appeared on the website of the Global New Light of Myanmar, he said that in that article he acknowledged that Rakhine Muslims have suffered. While in Bangladesh, apart from visiting Cox’s Bazar, the members of the Annan Commission will meet Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and members of the civil society. Upon completion of the visit, they will report to Kofi Annan. It may be mention, the commission including Annan visited Rakhine state in December. About the visit, a senior diplomat said, “They wanted to come on their own. And, we are facilitating the visit. I find it encouraging.” “Look, there is always a trust issue when you deal with the people from Myanmar. The international pressure must continue,” said another diplomat, who did not sound that positive.