An inquiry conducted by the Myanmar government has found no crimes against humanity [press release, in Burmese] were committed during violent clashes in Rakhine state last year, Vice President Myint Swe said Sunday. Speaking to reporters at the release of the Rakhine Investigative Commission’s final report, Swe denied allegations [AP report] of ethnic cleansing and gang rapes. He did concede that some crimes may have occurred, but attributed them to individual members of security forces. The Myanmar government’s commission has faced criticism from rights groups and international actors for a lack of transparency, and its credibility has been called into question.
The UN set up an independent commission to investigate the violence, but so far the Myanmar government has not allowed access to the area. A preliminary report in February found that Myanmar security forces’ treatment of the Rohingya Muslims likely constitutes crimes against humanity [JURIST report]. Interviews with Rohingya refugees reveal that security forces murdered children, pushed people into burning buildings and raped women, among other crimes [report, PDF]. Last month Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee voiced her concern over the worsening human rights situation [JURIST report] in Myanmar. During her 12-day visit at the invitation of the Myanmar government, Lee stated she witnessed government security forces use humans as shields in violent encounters and numerous deaths of detainees while in custody.