Nay Pyi Taw: Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country “does not fear international scrutiny” over the ongoing Rohingya Muslim refugee crisis and was “aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine state”.
She made the remarks in her first national address on the ongoing violence in Rakhine that has seen 415,000 Rohingya Muslims flee into Bangladesh, reports CNN.
“After half a century or more of authoritarian rule, now we are in the process of nurturing our nation.
“It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abdicate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violation and unlawful violence.
“We are committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout the state,” Suu Kyi said in front of a packed auditorium of Myanmar government officials and high ranking militarily personnel here.
Responding to the UN labelling the Myanmar Army’s actions as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, Suu Kyi said that her government still needed to find out “what the real problems are”.
“There have been allegations and counter-allegations. We have to listen to all of them. We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.
“We want to find out why this exodus is happening. We’d like to talk to those who have fled, as well as those who have stayed,” CNN quoted the de-facto leader as saying.
The Rohingya refugees have fled since the ongoing violence broke out on August 25 when Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) rebels attacked police checkposts and killed 12 security personnel.
In her speech, Suu Kyi the Nobel Peace Prize winner for her non-violent resistance to the military junta that used to rule Myanmar, did not mention the Rohingya specifically and only used the term in reference to the “Rohingya Salvation Army” which she claimed was “responsible for acts of terrorism”.
Suu Kyi said the violence is just one of many complexities her nascent democracy faces, likening it to a sick person who needs to be treated for multiple ailments.
“We are a young and fragile country facing many problems, but we have to cope with them all… We cannot just concentrate on the few.”
Suu Kyi said she was making this speech because she was unable to travel to the UN General Assembly later this week, reports the BBC.
She said she wanted the international community to know what was being done by her government to address the situation.
Human rights activists, fellow Nobel laureates and much of the world’s Muslim community have condemned Suu Kyi for failing to use her position as a government leader and moral authority to speak out on behalf of the Rohingya.
Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, despite the fact that many Rohingya families have lived in Rakhine for years.
Bangladesh considers them Myanmar citizens.
The Myanmar government does not use the term “Rohingya” and does not recognise the people as an official ethnicity, which means the Rohingya are denied citizenship and effectively rendered stateless.