We must pursue accountability for atrocities in Rakhine, says US

We must pursue accountability for atrocities in Rakhine, says US

SAM Report,
W Patrick Murphy, US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Myanmar

The United States has said they want accountability for atrocities in Rakhine State of Myanmar and their efforts seek to end the violence, support the displaced and their return home, reports UNB.

“We’ve assessed that atrocities have been committed and we must pursue accountability,” said W Patrick Murphy, Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, at a special briefing in Washington on Tuesday (October 24).

Murphy, also Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia, said the terrible Rakhine State crisis has exacerbated longstanding suffering of Rohingya and other populations.

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The crisis threatens peaceful transition as do other challenges the elected civilian authority inherited just 16 months ago, he said.

The US, earlier, announced $104 million in 2017 that has gone to both internally and externally displaced people.

“We’ve talked quite a bit about the good work that the government of Bangladesh has done in accepting so many of those refugees,” Murphy said.

He said they have identified new and ongoing actions to hold responsible those who have committed violence.

The US official also shared the measures – suspending travel waivers for military leaders; assessing existing authorities to consider options to target individuals responsible for atrocities; finding that all units and officers involved in operations in northern Rakhine State are ineligible for U.S. assistance programs.

He also mentioned rescinding invitations for Burmese security leaders to travel to US-sponsored programs; maintaining a longstanding arms embargo; consulting on accountability options at the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, and other venues; and pressing for access for the UN Fact-Finding Mission, a mission that we helped support the establishment of as measures taken so far.

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“There is also a need to address long-term causes of instability in Rakhine State. We support Burma in implementing the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Rakhine Advisory Commission to take on underdevelopment, lack of services, access to justice, and a citizenship process for all people in Rakhine State,” Murphy said.

He said they will continue to work with the democratically-elected civilian leadership, Myanmar’s diverse populations and other stakeholders inside the country, and the region on this crisis and other daunting challenges in the post-military era of that country.

“I want to be very clear: We are not shying away from the use of any appropriate terminology. We have a deliberative process to examine facts and a policy to support the pursuit of additional information to make such determinations, thus our support, for example, for the UN Fact-Finding Mission,” said the US official.