Kofi Annan commission greeted with protests in Rakhine State

Sittwe [Myanmar], Sept. 6 : Kofi Annan, chair of the newly formed Rakhine advisory commission, on Tuesday vowed to end the violence in the state and said that his nine-member team would help build economic prosperity in the region.

Speaking at the state government headquarters in Sittwe, the former UN secretary general called on Myanmar's neighbours to "play a constructive and positive role", reports the Myanmar times.

Over 1,20,000 people remain displaced since the communal violence broke out in 2012 between Rakhine Buddhists and the Muslim minority, who self- identify themselves as Rohingya but are referred as illegal "Bengali" immigrants by the majority in Myanmar.

Reports suggest that while speakers were set at low levels with Annan's words barely audible at times, crowds outside chanted protest slogans against the commission.

The Rakhine nationalists have accused the commission of being biased. At least 300 agitators lined the road from the airport objecting Annan's presence as a kind of foreign intervention.

However, U Tin Maung Swe, secretary of the Rakhine State government, said the protestors were paid to attend, given money by a political organisation.

Earlier at the opening meeting of about 100 delegates, U Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister for the State Counsellor's Office, said the commission was formed in the interest of the entire nation.

Chief Minister of Rakhine State, U Nyi Pu, also speaking at the event urged "friendly and frank discussions".

"This is not the kind of work that can be completed in one day, or one visit, so I hope this effort will be continued if a solution is to be found," he added.

Source: ANI