Myanmar's de facto head of state Aung San Suu Kyi has elected former UN chief Kofi Annan to lead a national commission tasked with stopping human rights abuses of minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. The government made the announcement on Wednesday (24 August).

The commission would comprise of nine independent members – including six citizens from Myanmar and three foreigners, a statement from Suu Kyi's office said. The commission will also include representatives from Muslim and ethnic Rakhine communities.

Kofi Annan UN
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Reuters

The commission will be tasked with providing humanitarian assistance to the minority group in the area, who suffer brutalities during conflicts with majority Buddhist citizens. Around 100,000 Rohingya Muslims live in camps for internally displaced people in Myanmar, while thousands others have fled the country to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Thailand.

In 2012, riots in Rakhine State between ethnic Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims made international headlines after massive loss of life and property were reported. Several incidents of human rights violation also came to fore following the incident, which was further highlighted during the 2015 mass exodus of minority Muslims.

In July this year, a mob comprising Buddhists had allegedly burnt down a mosque in the north of Myanmar as it was reportedly built near a Buddhist pagoda.

"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 statement read, according to Reuters. The commission will engage in national reconciliation, improve human rights conditions for the victims and oversee development in Rakhine. The body will also publish a report within a year of its formation.

Rohingya muslim myanmar
Former UN chief Kofi Annan will lead a commission in Myanmar tasked with settling human rights issues against minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State - File photo Reuters