Statement by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission with regard to the terrorist attacks that occurred in Maung Daw and Buthidaung townships of Rakhine State Statement No. (11/2017)

  1. A team from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission visited Buthidaung and Maung Daw townships from 24 to 29 September 2017 to look into the terrorist attacks that occurred in the townships.
  1. During the course of the trip, the team visited five Bangali villages, seven ethnic villages and one Hindu village as well as one Bangali, seven ethnic and two Hindu refugee camps and six monasteries. The team independently interviewed 71 Bangalis, 33 ethnic people, 13 Hindus and also met the authorities concerned and the security personnel.
  1. Based on the interviews, it was found out that the ARSA terrorist group recruited young people from the area, intimidated them and trained them in terrorist activities. The group executed people who resisted the recruitment and also killed villagers whom they suspected of giving information to the government and all those who spoke out against them when interviewed by the media and responsible personnel. The ARSA group also went around the villages of the ethnic minority groups terrorizing them and executing the ethnic minorities and Hindus en masse. On top of that the group carried out terrorist attacks on the outposts of police forces carrying out security duties, outposts of Border Guard Forces and ethnic villages.
  1. After cessation of conflict with the terrorists, the team from the Commission learnt on 28 September 2017 that about 1,000 Bangalis had gathered at the coastal area near Alal-Than-Kyaw village to proceed to other side. The team went over to meet the villagers. According to the villagers, friends and villagers who had gone over to the other side made phone contacts with them and told them to come over as the conditions there were much better. The villagers also wished to go over to other side due to lack of security and shortage of food. Although the Commission team explained that the government was providing security, food and shelter, the villagers told the Commission team that arrangements had already been made for transportation and that they would like to go over to the other side of their own volition.
  1. In order to ensure peace and tranquility and not to infringe sovereignty and to prevent similar occurrences of violation of human rights in Buthidaung and Maung Daw areas of Northern Rakhine State, the Commission would like to recommend that necessary security measures, transportation, healthcare, education and social and economic developments should be provided immediately. In addition, development of tourism industries and fisheries should also be implemented systematically. For the security of the region additional police stations, police outposts and Border Guard Forces outposts should be established as deemed necessary.
  1. To alleviate food and clothing shortages, healthcare and social difficulties for Bangalis who had not fled and wished to live peacefully, a headcount should be taken immediately and temporary recommendation papers under the authorization of the regional authorities should be issued to grant access to freedom of movement related to livelihood. It is recommended that provisions and medicines urgently needed should be provided for all living in the region.
  1. It is required to systematically scrutinize all returnees to ensure that ARSA terrorists who had committed terrorist attacks should not be on the list when accepting the returnees and to give emphasis on long-term peace and stability in the rehabilitation process.

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Date:    3 October 2017