Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has arrived in Burma and is due to meet with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi either today or tomorrow in Naypyidaw where they will discuss the volatile situation between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State.
Annan is head of the nine-member Arakan Advisory Commission, which was appointed by Suu Kyi exactly a year ago to investigate and recommend solutions to the inter-religious conflict that has racked the region for several years.
The Commission submitted its final report to Burmese President Htin Kyaw earlier today.
Speaking to DVB, Aye Lwin, a member of the Arakan Advisory Commission, said that they had already briefed Htin Kyaw on their findings and that the president had appeared satisfied with the 15-page interim report they had submitted in March.
“The president told us that he was satisfied with our interim report, and that his government would begin to implement our recommendations,” said Aye Lwin.
The Arakan Advisory Commission was tasked with: finding conflict-prevention measures; ensuring humanitarian assistance, rights and reconciliation; establishing basic infrastructure; and promoting long-term development plans.
It said it has interviewed at least 1,000 people over the past 12 months including MPs and representatives of political parties, and a cross-section of Arakanese Buddhist and Muslims.
However, the appointment of a foreign-led commission has been controversial from the outset. Arakanese Buddhists and nationalists in particular took exception to the inclusion of Kofi Annan, alongside former Lebanese Minister Ghassan Salame, and former UNAIDS Special Advisor Laetitia van den Assum, accusing them of being pro-Muslim.
Tun Aung Kyaw, secretary of the Arakan National Party, told DVB that his party members do not trust the Commission and believes that their comments and opinions will not be represented in the final report.
“I don’t know yet what is mentioned in the report, but we don’t believe that it will be unbiased,” he said.
Chairperson Annan and other members of the Arakan Advisory Commission are due to hold a press conference in Rangoon tomorrow.