Rohingya crisis: Suu Kyi says ‘all in Rakhine defended’ 


International desk, September 6: In her first comments on Myanmar’s latest Rohingya crisis, de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her government is protecting everyone in Rakhine state.

But she criticised the “huge iceberg of misinformation” about the conflict promoting the interests of terrorists.

Ms Suu Kyi made the comments in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her office said.

More than 123,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state into Bangladesh in the last two weeks.

It is the latest in a series of conflicts that has sent waves of refugees fleeing the country, which is also called Burma.

The Rohingya are a stateless mostly Muslim ethnic minority who have faced persecution in Myanmar.

The Nobel laureate has faced criticism for not speaking out on the latest violence.

The latest government statement, carried by local media, said Ms Suu Kyi told Mr Erdogan that her government had “already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible”.

Ms Suu Kyi is quoted as saying: “We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection.

So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as, the right to, and not just political but social and humanitarian defence.”

The statement also said there were many fake news photographs circulating which were “simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists”.

The latest conflict began on 25 August when Rohingya militants attacked police posts, triggering a military counter-offensive that has forced a flood of Rohingya civilians to head across the border to Bangladesh.

Many of those who have left describe troops and Rakhine Buddhist mobs razing their villages and killing civilians in a campaign to drive them out.

The military says it is fighting against Rohingya militants who are attacking civilians.

Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been heavily criticised for her response to the escalating crisis.

While she has previously acknowledged problems in Rakhine state, she has denied there is ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,

Several fellow laureates have called on her to act in the latest conflict, and the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar this week said she must “step in”.

Source: Agencies