21 June 2018

Tillerson to press Myanmar army chief to halt violence in Rakhine: Page 2 of 2


Pramila Patten, the U.N. special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, said she would raise accusations against the Myanmar military with the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, has consistently protested its innocence, and on Monday it posted the findings of an internal investigation on the Facebook page of Min Aung Hlaing.

It said it had found no instances where its soldiers had shot and killed Rohingya villagers, raped women or tortured prisoners. It denied that security forces had torched Rohingya villages or used "excessive force".

The military said that, while 376 "terrorists" were killed, there were no deaths of innocent people.

Human rights groups have poured scorn on the military's investigation, branding it a "whitewash" and calling for U.N. and independent investigators to be allowed into the country.

Suu Kyi's failure to speak out strongly over the plight of the Rohingya has widely damaged the Nobel peace prize winner's reputation as a stateswoman.

Many diplomats, however, believe Myanmar's fragile transition to democracy after 49 years of military rule would be jeopardised if she publicly criticised the armed forces.

“Both parts of the government will have to work together in order to solve this problem … Trying to get two of them to work together, to try to solve the problem, is certainly going to be very important," the U.S. official said.

The official said Suu Kyi had been very open in her talks with Tillerson and other leaders during the regional summits in the past few days about the steps that needed to be taken to resolve the crisis.

"She has been very forthcoming about wanting to solve the problem, what kind of actions need to be taken to improve the situation," the official said

"We know the government’s plan for voluntarily repatriation and encourage the government to implement those plans as soon as possible.”.[mr/cna/reuters]