Zarganar, the well-known Burmese comedian who is a member of a commission named to look into the causes of violence in Rakhine State, said on Tuesday the group would spend two days there this week, according to a report by DPA, the German news agency.
The former political prisoners said, “We will spend two days there, looking for real data and the real voice of the Rohingyas.”
Zarganar is one member of the 27-member body set up by President Thein Sein on Friday, partly in response to growing criticism from Muslim nations, the United Nations and human rights groups that government troops had allowed or supported Buddhist Rakhine attacks on Muslim Rohingyas.
The Rohingyas are an ethnic minority group that has lived in Rakhine State for generations, but suffer discrimination and are not allowed citizenship.
The government claims they are not one of Burma’s ethnic nationalities and are descendants of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
In June, long-standing ethnic tensions erupted following the rape and murder of a Buddhist Rakhine woman by three Rohingyas on May 28. Ten Muslims were dragged off a bus and beaten to death, sparking a wave of revenge clashes that claimed at least 88 dead and displaced up to 90,000 people, according to some reports.
The 27-member commission includes political party leaders, former political prisoners, opposition leaders, Muslim and Buddhist religious leaders and others, who are charged with determining the cause of the unrest and recommending short and long-term solutions to overcome the community tensions, which have led to violent clashes and the death of at least 88 people, prompting international calls for a credible investigation.
Dr. Myo Myint, a retired director general of Religious Affairs, will direct the commission comprised of six representatives from Muslim associations, two Christian clerics, a representative of a Hindu association and leaders of five political parties including two Rakhine political parties.
The commission includes prominent former political prisoners, a leader of the 88-student group, the entertainer, Zarganar, a former UN officer, and representatives from ethnic political parties.
“The president wants to show the international community that he is trying his best to deal with this extraordinarily sensitive issue,” said Khun Htun Oo, who was appointed to the body, and was released from prison in January. He leads an ethnic minority political party, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.
A coalition of nine Rohingya international groups on Tuesday issued a statement saying some of the commission members may lack objectivity based on their public statements during the unrest.