Nay Pyi Taw, Sep 19 (IANS) Breaking her silence over the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said she and her government “condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence” in the country and does not fear global scrutiny on the situation in Rakhine state.
The de facto leader made the remarks in her first national address over the Rakhine violence that has seen 415,000 Rohingya Muslims flee into Bangladesh since August 25. Suu Kyi said she felt “deeply” for the suffering of “all people” in the conflict, and that Myanmar was “committed to a sustainable solution… for all communities in this state”.
Suu Kyi, who decided not to attend the UN General Assembly in New York later this week, said she was “aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine” and that Myanmar “does not fear international scrutiny”, CNN reported.
The leader said she nevertheless wanted the international community to know what was being done by her government. “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.
“Action will be taken against all peoples, regardless of their religion, race, or political position, who go against the laws of the land and who violate human rights.
Suu Kyi also promised to provide humanitarian assistance to the communities affected by the 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.
Despite the continuing exodus from conflict-ridden Rakhine, Suu Kyi claimed that the military’s offensive had ended two weeks ago. “There have been no conflicts since September 5, and no clearance operations. We too are concerned. We want to find out what the real problems are.
“There have been allegations, and counter allegations, and we have to listen to all of them… We have to make sure that these 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,” Suu Kyi said.
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.
Suu Kyi termed the August 25 strikes as “terrorist attacks”.
“After several months of seeming quiet and peace, 30 police outputs were attacked by armed Muslim groups. Consequently, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army was declared a terrorist group.”
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”.
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 Rohingyas.
Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh whereas 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.
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