Myanmar government attempts to clarify Rakhine issue ‘Purely an inter-communal violence’

Following is the message of Ko Ko Latt, Ambassador of the Republic of Union of Myanmar to Kuwait, on the situation in Rakhine State.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is a country which total area is 676,577 with a population of over 60 million. Myanmar is made up of seven States and seven Regions. Eight major national races are residing in those States and Regions. Rakhine State is one of the States of Myanmar and it has an area of 36,780 and it accommodates a population of 3,836,000.

The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar is building a peaceful, modern and developed nation and at the time the Government is tirelessly working to achieve peace and stability in the entire country, two incidents had occurred in Rakhine State on May 28 and June 3 subsequently. Inadvertently, one incident was involved with the Rakhine Buddhist female and the other was involved with the Muslim males who are living together in the region.

In the first week of June, based on these two incidents, riots broke out in Rakhine States where rioters torched and destroyed houses, shops and guest houses and committed killings. Only 77 persons – 31 Rakhine nationals and 46 Bengalis – lost lives in the incidents. The injured from both sides accounted for around 100. A total of 4,800 houses were burnt out by both sides in anger. Most of the houses burnt out were built with bamboo, bamboo mat, palm leaves and polyester sheet which are easy to flame and  the arson caused more houses getting on fire. The Government tried to immediately restore stability in places where riots broke out since the very beginning of violence and legal actions have been taken to the perpetrators involved in the lawlessness and anarchist acts in Rakhine State  The Investigation Committee was formed on June 6, 2012.  The arson attack left 60,000 people homeless for whom 53 relief camps have been opened. The Government hand in hand with UN agencies and NGOs is taking rescue and rehabilitation measures. More than 3 billion Kyats (in Myanmar currency) for relief and rehabilitation for the victims of both sides have been received from well wishers from within the country and abroad.

These are the reality and cooperation is being made with organizations for transparency. The diplomats were briefed on the issue in a press conference on July 30. The press conference was also attended by UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Myanmar Mr Quintana who was on a visit in Myanmar.

And the next day, a tour of diplomats including the Kuwait Ambassador to Myanmar was arranged to the region to witness the situation and rehabilitation efforts made by the Government, the UN agencies and the international organizations. 

Turkish Foreign Minister HE Mr Ahmet Davutoglu has visited Myanmar and also made a tour to the relief camps in Rakhine State and distributed relief goods to the affected people on Aug 10, 2012. When he met with the President U Thein Sein on Aug 9, the President  said that he was disheartened by hairsplitting of the media. The pictures of genocide spreading in the internet show incidents in another country, convincing the viewers that these things are happening in Myanmar.  The Government of Myanmar also invited the Secretary of Organization of Islamic Cooperation to visit Myanmar and to witness the situation. The Turkish Foreign Minister  promised to explain what he witnessed in Myanmar at the OIC meeting and urge the OIC secretary to visit to Myanmar. The Minister said that transparency and the OIC secretary’s visit to Rakhine State could well bring misunderstandings by Islamic countries on Myanmar to an end. Turkish donors donated US$ 50 millions for the Rakhine State.

Actually, the people of various races lived in amicable atmosphere in Myanmar. It was ignited by the brutal murder of a girl. The cause of the unrest is the unlawful act. There were revenges between the groups which later suffer a lot. The incidents in Rakhine State is purely an inter-communal violence confining only to some portion of the population in the Rakhine State. In this respect, the Government of Myanmar totally rejects the attempts by some quarters to politicized and internationalize the situation as a religious issue.

The Government have taken necessary measures with great care and with magnanimity and is cooperating with religious and community leaders, political parties and social organization to resolve the issue. And the overall situation is now returning to normalcy.

Keeping in mind with a great concern and avoiding  undesired and negative effect on the existing friendly relations between our two people  by incorrect and unethical mention by some media, I wish to give the friendly people of the State of Kuwait this message to elaborate the true situation  in Rakhine State. Wishing all the people of Kuwait prosperous and good health for the Holy Month of Ramadan. “Ramadan Kareem”.

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