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Burma Commission Dismisses Allegations of Mass Deaths in Rakhine

A nurse walks past as a child sitting at Medecins Sans Frontieres Holland's clinic in Rangoon, March 3, 2014.
A nurse walks past as a child sitting at Medecins Sans Frontieres Holland's clinic in Rangoon, March 3, 2014.
An investigation committee appointed by the Burmese government said it has found no evidence of claims that at least 40 Rohingyas were killed during attacks in January.

Commission member Yin Yin Nwe Tuesday told reporters in Rangoon the investigation found no basis for allegations in a U.N. report of systematic killings by security forces.

"It is true the commission found injuries among the Du Chee Ya Dan villagers. But we believe the nature of these injures show they could have been sustained first in defensive action taking by the police when confronted by a large hostile mob. They had to fire in self defense, otherwise the mob would have killed them. Second, once the mob had dispersed, the villagers ran away, and in doing so they sustained some minor injures," Yin Yin Nwe stated.

The commission made a total of 12 recommendations, including a call for more transparency whenever violence occurs and improve the quality of civil servants in northern Rahkine state.

Violence in Rahkine state is a sensitive subject in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Authorities asked the international aid group Doctors Without Borders (known by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF) to suspend operations in Rakhine shortly after the group reported treating people for injuries from a violent clash.

Burma's government refuses to officially recognize the Rohingya Muslim minority. It says members of any officially recognized minority must be able to prove their ancestors lived in Burma before the British invaded Rakhine in 1823.

Many of Burma's hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims say their ancestors have lived in Burma for generations; but, the impoverished minority group lacks the documentation to prove it.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.
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