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Kofi Annan to Lead Commission on Myanmar's Rakhine State

FIle - Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
FIle - Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will head a commission to discuss ethnic conflict and clashes in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the government and the foundation named after him announced Wednesday.

A statement issued by the Kofi Annan Foundation said the commission "will initiate a dialogue with political and community leaders in Rakhine with the aim of proposing measures to improve the well-being of all the people of the State."

More than 100 people were killed in Rakhine in 2012 and 100,000 remain in camps following clashes between the Rohingya Muslim minority and the Buddhist majority.

Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party ended decades of military rule in a landslide vote earlier this year, has been widely criticized by the international community for not doing more to combat institutionalized discrimination, particularly against the Muslim minority.

"The Myanmar government wants to find a sustainable solution on the complicated issues in Rakhine State; that's why it has formed an advisory commission," the government said in a statement released by Aung San Suu Kyi's office.

The statement did not name the Rohingya, only ambiguously referring to violence in the state.

"Today's announcement is a sign that Myanmar's authorities are taking the situation in Rakhine State seriously," said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in a statement. "But it will only have been a worthwhile exercise if it paves the way for the realization of human rights for all people in the state."

The panel of nine comprises six Myanmar citizens and three foreigners and is expected to publish a report within a year of its formation. It does not include a Muslim minority representative.