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March 02, 2018

Remove fears that have kept two communities apart

  • By Tha Sein
  • A curfew imposed recently in Maungtaw and Buthidaung Townships, Rakhine State with a view to ensuring the prevalence of peace and stability in the region is a welcome move. The curfew should be helpful as an early warning in case of any signs of further violence in the northwest part of the country. A shift from attacking soldiers and police to targeting local people has become a potential turning point with more people killed and many others who have gone missing.
    The government has decided to enforce the law rigorously, which would be a supporting mechanism for reining in violent acts. The terrorist threat continues to evolve with new groups taking the place of previous ones, and each brings with them their own brand of violence. The curfew is a direct response to an upsurge in terrorist activities, which are more than enough to create a climate of fear to shake public confidence which may affect people’s everyday lives.
    The 9-10-2016 violent armed attacks which put the government on a heightened state of alert reminds us how complicated the situation in the border is. In the context of the scope and nature of these attacks, what is happening in the deep West cannot be seen in isolation, with an increase of atrocities perpetrated by a terrorist group in order to increase its leverage and gain more international attention.
    State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that a United Nations decision to send an international fact-finding mission to look into allegations of abuse by security forces against Muslims in Rakhine State was not in keeping with the needs of both communities, and they did not feel it was in line with the needs of the region where they were trying to establish harmony and understanding and to remove the fears that have kept the two communities apart.
    As regards communal tensions in the region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also released a statement that the presence of an international fact-finding mission would do more to inflame rather than resolve the issue and it was also not in accord with the situation on the ground and prevailing situations.
    To be fair, new models of collaborative and inclusive governance are required to successfully address the simmering communal tensions. At a time when the world is watching what is going on in the country with grave concern, we have reacted positively to the call of the people in distress and took proactive steps to bring peace and harmony in the region.


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