Suu Kyi Underlines Rakhine Int'l Problem At 1st Meeting

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Suu Kyi underlines Rakhine int'l problem at 1st meeting

YANGON, Myanmar, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News -5th Sep,2016) : Myanmar's State Counselor has underlined at the first meeting of an advisory commission on troubled Rakhine State that the problems that continue to wrack the home of a majority of the country's Rohingya Muslim minority are international and not domestic.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been heavily criticized for including non-Burmese people on the high-level commission which former United Nations head Kofi Annan chairs, but on Monday she stood her ground.

"There are also claims that by forming this commission we are bringing our domestic problems onto the international stages. It is not true in fact," she said at the country's National Reconciliation and Peace Center in commercial capital Yangon.

"Our problems have been on the international stage for many years," she stressed. "We want to find out why, we want to find out why... We want to find out the root causes. We want to find out the solutions." Since mid-2012, nearly 100 people have been killed and some 100,000 people displaced after communal violence broke out in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims -- described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted minority groups worldwide.

Rohingya have subsequently been fleeing Myanmar in droves, terrified of the violence that some human rights groups consider state sponsored. Rights groups estimate that as many as 10 percent of the ethnic group have fled the country in search of better opportunities in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia -- many of them paying people smugglers to help them achieve their goals.

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has subsequently formed the commission to find lasting solutions to the "complex and delicate issues" in Rakhine -- home to around 1.2 million Rohingya and one of the poorest regions in Myanmar.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), however, has said that the commission -- composed of three international members and six from Myanmar, including representatives from the Buddhist and Muslim communities -- should not include foreign nationals, claiming the Rakhine issue is Myanmar's own internal problem.

Annan arrived in commercial capital Yangon on Saturday, and the commission convened its first meeting Monday in Yangon. The commission -- which plans to deliver its findings and recommendations to the government within twelve months of its establishment -- will pay a visit to Rakhine on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Since her party's victory in the Nov. 8 election, Suu Kyi has been placed under tremendous international pressure to solve problems faced by Rohingya but has had to play a careful balancing act for fear of upsetting the country's nationalists, many of whom have accused Muslims of trying to eradicate the country's Buddhist traditions.

Suu Kyi has, however, enforced the notion that the root of many of the impoverished region's problems are economic, and is encouraging investment in the area, which in turn her National League for Democracy party hopes will lead to reconciliation between Buddhist and Muslim communities.