Japanese, Philippine diplomats to help probe abuses against Rohingya

Kyodo News

Posted at Jul 30 2018 10:47 PM

Ayesha Khatun, a Rohingya refugee, holds a family picture that she has sent to her husband and son jailed in Sittwe prison in Myanmar. Mohammad Ponir Hossain, Reuters/file photo

Myanmar's government announced Monday it has formed a commission involving former Philippine and Japanese diplomats to probe allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine State where the military has been accused of committing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.

The four-member Independent Commission of Enquiry will be chaired by former Philippine undersecretary of foreign affairs Rosario Manalo and include Kenzo Oshima, Japan's former ambassador to the United Nations, the presidential office said in a statement.

The other two members are locally respected Myanmar nationals Mya Thein, a former head of the Constitutional Tribunal, and Aung Tun Thet, a former senior official of UNICEF.

The statement said commission, which will be assisted by national and international legal and technical experts, "will investigate the allegations of human rights violations and related issues."

The move comes amid calls for International Criminal Court to probe the Rohingya crisis in which, according to U.N. estimates, more than 720,000 of them have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since August last year, escaping a harsh military crackdown in reprisal for attacks by Rohingya militants on government security posts.

Both the U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein and Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, as well as Amnesty International, have called for an ICC probe,

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi promised a visiting U.N. Security Council delegation earlier this year that her government would undertake a "proper investigation" of reported violence in Rakhine once evidence is given.