Myanmar May Allow Rakhine Probe
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Myanmar is considering allowing
the Organization of Islamic Cooperation secretary general into the
country to investigate the violence against the Rohingya.
Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin made the statement at a meeting with Marty on Tuesday.
at the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations in Jakarta on Wednesday, Marty said the idea of
the OIC secretary general’s visit was among the suggestions made by
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Lwin said Myanmar President Thein Sein received a letter from Yudhoyono and would reply swiftly.
president’s letter has been handed to President Thein Sein. Myanmar
appreciates Indonesia’s view as a friendly country that has long had a
good understanding of developments in Myanmar,” Lwin said.
letter came after weeks of mounting calls from human rights activists,
legislators and students for Indonesia to take a role in finding a
solution to the violence in Myanmar. Marty said Indonesia hoped Myanmar
would be more open to the international community with regard to the
“And we, in the talks with the Myanmar
foreign minister, have reiterated the importance of Myanmar to open the
region so that the international community can check directly the actual
developments there,” he said.
Violence erupted in June in
Rakhine state in western Myanmar between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya,
leaving about 80 people dead from both sides, according to official
Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya
Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other
during the recent wave of sectarian violence, according to the New
York-based Human Rights Watch.
Meanwhile, Asean secretary
general Surin Pitsuwan said in Jakarta on Wednesday that the bloc is
considering humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees facing
persecution in Myanmar.
Surin said the bloc should be “part of a
solution to the problem” that escalated in June with the bloody clashes
that displaced around 60,000 people.
“I have made a proposal
[to our member countries] that Asean should once again offer
humanitarian assistance, like we did during the aftermath of Cyclone
Nargis four-and-a-half years ago,” Surin told reporters, referring to a
storm that left 138,000 people dead or missing in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy
Delta in May 2008.
He said the offer to assist the Rohingya had
garnered support from several Asean members and that Indonesia and
Malaysia, both Muslim-majority nations, had also offered to directly
assist the Rohingya.
Myanmar, formerly Burma, was ruled by a
military dictatorship since 1962 until elections in 2010. Critics say
the vote was a fraud and the changes merely cosmetic — meant to
legitimize military rule and open the door to foreign capital.
Additional reporting from Antara & AFP