SITTWE—Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, has been criticised by the Arakan Social Network for being one-sided in his comments about investigations into the Duucheeyartan violence.
During a press conference at Yangon International Airport on February 19, Quintana said that he would wait to see the results of a government-appointed human rights commission’s investigation before making a final recommendation. But he warned that if the results fail to meet international standards he would push the UN Human Rights Council to “establish a credible investigation to uncover the truth of what happened” in Ducheeyartan and to hold anyone responsible for human rights violations to account.
Tun Aung Thein, Maungdaw district coordinator for the Arakan Social Network in Butheetaung Township, argues that Quintana is not allowing the commission to do its work.
“The National Human Rights Commission has already inquired about the violence and the Investigation Commission formed by the president is now investigating the riot. He [Quintana] has publicly expressed his lack of faith in the government’s investigation to the international community,” said Tun Aung Thein.
“He wants to say to the foreign countries that Bengalis were discriminated against by Myanmar people. But while visiting Rakhine State, he made only one-sided comments without inquiring and asking about the minority of ethnics’ current situation.”
Ko Ko Maung, a spokesperson for organizers of a mass meeting in Rakhine State opposed to Quintana’s visit, echoed the ASN’s view.
“The UN didn’t say any words about the killing of Rakhine nationals in Bangladesh. Quintana’s words were an affront to the government’s sovereignty,” said Ko Ko Maung, noting that Quintana did not visit Ducheeyartan village, where the violence took place, during his visit to Rakhine State on February 14.
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