Myanmar panel probing Rohingya crisis pledges independence

Myanmar panel probing Rohingya crisis pledges independence
Philippine diplomat Rosario Manalo talks during a press briefing at a hotel in Naypyitaw, Myanmar Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Government-appointed Rakhine panel tasked to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine State has been set up in response to demands from the international community for a proper investigation into last year’s events that saw 700,000 Rohingya Muslims flee Rakhine state for Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Members of a commission established by Myanmar’s government to investigate human rights violations in western Rakhine state, from which 700,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority fled brutal army operations, have pledged to be impartial.

The Independent Commission of Enquiry held its first formal meeting Thursday in the capital, Naypyitaw, a day after holding talks with the country’s leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The commission’s chairwoman, former Philippine diplomat Rosario Manolo, said at a news conference that the panel will be “independent, impartial and neutral.”

The commission was established after rights groups called for the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged abuses by the army against the Rohingya, including murder, mass rape and the destruction of villages.