Kofi Annan urges cross-border co-operation to solve Rohingya conflict

09.09.2016

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan urged better cross-border co-operation between Bangladesh and Myanmar on Thursday in order to resolve the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state.

Annan spoke at the end of his first visit to Myanmar as chair of an advisory commission on settling the unrest in Rakhine.

"We are not here as inspectors or policemen," he said, promising the commission will conduct itself impartially.

The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. Most of the Rohingya in Myanmar live in Rakhine state. The government does not consider them to be a native ethnic group, but illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, stripping them of their citizenship and property.

Many Rohingya have been forced to live in squalid camps and the international community has repeatedly criticised Myanmar for discriminating against them. Annan's appointment to the commission provoked criticism among Myanmar's nationalists, who argue the conflict is an internal affair and reject foreign mediation.

Several hundred people held a rally against Annan at his arrival at Sittwe airport on Tuesday. A proposal by the Arakan National Party to remove the commission's foreign members failed.

In his meeting held in Sittwe, Annan met Rohingya representatives who complained that they can't move freely and need permits in order to get medical treatment while the Buddhist Rakhine population told him they feel neglected by the international community.

Aung Win, a Rohingya activist from Sittwe, said that his community welcomed Annan's visit: "This time I have real hope that there will be a better future for our Rohingya people."    (dpa)

Related articles on Qantara.de:

The Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar: Stateless people in search of a home

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar: The spectre of ethnic violence reappears

The Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar: In the shadow of an icon

 

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