Zarganar, a popular comedian and former political prisoner who is part of the commission, said that months after the violence, community members “from all sides” in Rakhine had been refusing to cooperate, and that the inquiry might not be completed by next month’s deadline.

Zarganar said that the commission had completed a preliminary report based on its investigation and interviews, but was continuing to update it as new information became available. “Sometimes we think we have the people we need to answer our questions, and they don't show up (for interviews). Other times we ask for documents they have said they are in possession of, but then later they say they are lost,” he said. “We just don't know how to follow through."

But he said that the team was nowhere near making a conclusion about the root cause of the ethnic unrest because of the complex nature of the crisis, as well as a host of administrative problems.

The comedian also addressed concerns over the scope of the investigation and allegations of bias from supporters of Burma’s Buddhist and Muslim communities. “I knew from the beginning that I would be criticized from both sides, and it is happening now,” he said. “But I have decided to do my best for the good of the country and I will not back down. I will continue.”

The commission was formed on Aug. 17. to probe ethnic violence in western Burma’s Rakhine state

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