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Advisory Commission on Rakhine State: Final Report

After one year of consultations held across Rakhine State and in other parts of the country and the region, the Advisory Commission submitted its final report to national authorities on 23 August. The report recommends urgent and sustained action on a number of fronts to prevent violence, maintain peace, foster reconciliation and offer a sense of hope to the State’s hard-pressed population.

The final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan, puts forward recommendations to surmount the political, socio-economic and humanitarian challenges that currently face Rakhine State. It builds on the Commission’s interim report released in March of this year.

“Unless concerted action – led by the government and aided by all sectors of the government and society – is taken soon, we risk the return of another cycle of violence and radicalisation, which will further deepen the chronic poverty that afflicts Rakhine State”, said Kofi Annan, Chair of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

The final report addresses in depth a broad range of structural issues that are impediments to the peace and prosperity of Rakhine State. Several recommendations focus specifically on citizenship verification, rights and equality before the law, documentation, the situation of the internally displaced and freedom of movement, which affect the Muslim population disproportionally. An overview of the thematic focus areas of the report and its recommendations can be found here.

The report is the outcome of over 150 consultations and meetings held by the Advisory Commission since its launch in September 2016. Commission members have travelled extensively throughout Rakhine State, and held meetings in Yangon and Naypyitaw, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Geneva.

“The Commission has put forward honest and constructive recommendations which we know will create debate,” Commission Chair Kofi Annan said. “However, if adopted and implemented in the spirit in which they were conceived, I firmly believe that our recommendations, along with those of our interim report, can trace a path to lasting peace, development and respect for the rule of law in Rakhine State.”

With the submission of its final report, the Advisory Commission on Rakhine has completed its mandate. However, the Commission’s report recommends a national mechanism be established to ensure the effective implementation of its recommendations.

“We propose a ministerial-level appointment to be made with the sole function of coordinating policy on Rakhine State and ensuring the effective implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations,” says Commission Chair Kofi Annan. “The appointee should be supported by a permanent and well-staffed secretariat, which will be an integral part of the Central Committee on Implementation of Peace and Development in Rakhine State and support its work.”

Read Mr Annan’s remarks on the presentation of the report here.

About the Commission

At the request of the Office of the State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State was founded in September 2016 as a neutral and impartial body. It is chaired by Kofi Annan. The Commission was mandated to address the severe and persistent challenges facing Rakhine State, particularly its low level of socio-economic development, the threats posed by inter-communal tensions, the issues of citizenship and freedom of movement, the infringement of human rights, and the lack of communal participation and representation. The Government’s establishment of the Advisory Commission in 2016 reflected the urgent need to open a new path towards sustainable peace, one that can end the cycle of violence, poverty and radicalisation.

The Commission has six Myanmar and three international members, and is chaired by Kofi Annan. The commissioners are:

  • Kofi Annan (Chair), Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Secretary General of the United Nations (1997 – 2006), Nobel Peace Laureate (2001)
  • U Win Mra, Chair of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Thar Hla Shwe, former President of the Myanmar Red Cross Society
  • Mr Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in Libya, Lebanese Minister of Culture (2000-2003), UN Special Advisor to Secretary General (2003-2006)
  • Ms Laetitia van den Assum, Special Advisor to UNAIDS (2005-2006), Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom (2012-2015)
  • U Aye Lwin, Core Member and Founder of Religions for Peace, Myanmar
  • Dr Mya Thida, President of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Myanmar Medical Association, Member of the Myanmar Academy of Medical Science
  • U Khin Maung Lay, Member of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
  • Daw Saw Khin Tint, Chairperson (Rakhine Literature and Culture Association, Yangon) and Vice-Chairperson (Rakhine Women Association)