Rohingya Muslims being wiped off Myanmar's map

Ray Weaver
September 20, 2017

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on the Rohingya crisis Tuesday, in a speech aimed at appeasing an global community horrified by army-led violence which the United Nations describes as "ethnic cleansing".

James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that "Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State".

The speech marked Suu Kyi's first public address since violence broke out in western Myanmar last month, sending hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh.

The Guardian quoted her as saying, "I am aware of the fact that the world's attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine state".

Suu Kyi addressed the Rohingya crisis in a televised address on Tuesday in which she stopped short of criticising the Burmese military over alleged human rights abuses.

"We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicities".

"There have been allegations and counter-allegations, and we have to listen to all of them", she said.

"We are prepared to start the verification process at any time", she said referring to those who have fled in the unprecedented exodus to Bangladesh, without guaranteeing a return for all of the refugees.

"We will take all measures mentioned to ensure that there is peace in Rakhine and Myanmar as a whole". We want to find out why the exodus is happening. "Hate and fear are main scourges", says Aung San Suu Kyi. "Burma is a complex nation".

Violence is escalating in Rakhine state of Myanmar after a group of insurgents from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked 30 official posts and killed 12 people on August 25.

She said she it would be helpful to understand why conflict did not break out everywhere.

The Bangladesh government has yet to make any official comments on her address, but a senior official at the foreign ministry told bdnews24.com that Dhaka had always been pressing Myanmar on the "joint verification" of the Rohingyas who have lived in Cox's Bazar for decades.

"We will abide by the criteria that was agreed on at that time", said Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi has been slammed by many human rights advocates for maintaining a silence on the plight of the Rohingya community in Myanmar. As you may be aware, there are a group of countries who as of previous year were selling arms to Myanmar, and the reason we are doing this is because of past history.

She said her government had been making every effort to restore peace and stability and to promote harmony between the Muslim and largely Buddhist Rakhine communities.

Other reports by Insurance News

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