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Suu Kyi condemns human rights violations in Myanmar's Rakhine (Second Lead)

Suu Kyi condemns human rights violations in Myanmar's Rakhine (Second Lead)

More than 420,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee violence in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state in what the United Nations has described as "ethnic cleansing".

"There has been a call for the repatriation of refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh", she said.

Faced with a powerful military keen to have martial law declared in Rakhine State where there has been an exodus of almost a half-million people in three weeks, Myanmar's leader, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, avoided any mention of ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingya.

Communal violence has torn through Rakhine state since Rohingya militants staged deadly attacks on police posts on August 25.

So when Suu Kyi says she's just a politician and "not Mother Theresa", she is not balancing competing interests and deterring aggressors, but settling into a life of grisly realpolitik.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said Tuesday that those who violate human rights in the country will be punished, but she did not publicly criticize Myanmar's military, which has been accused of killing and terrorizing the country's Rohingya ethnic minority.

"More than 50 percent of the villages of Muslims are intact", she said.

Suu Kyi vowed to hold rights violators accountable "regardless of their religion, race or political position".

Ms Suu Kyi did not mention the Rohingya by name in yesterday's speech, but did address their potential return.




Though members of the long-persecuted religious minority first arrived in the western state of Rakhine generations ago, most people in Myanmar consider them to have migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

More than half of the more than 400,000 Rohingya who have escaped Myanmar's military crackdown live in makeshift sites without proper shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation.

"We don't have proper documents, it's very hard to prove", said Mohammed Faruque, a long-term refugee, who has lived in the Kutupalong camp since 1991, when his father brought him as a one-year-old boy. All the while, the Rohingya crisis damages her credibility among those who campaigned for her release. More than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25.

Suu Kyi, who decided not to attend the UN General Assembly in NY 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 global scrutiny", CNN reported.

In an address timed to pre-empt likely censure at the UN General Assembly in NY, she said Myanmar stood ready "at any time" to repatriate refugees in accordance with a "verification" process agreed with Bangladesh in the early 1990s.

Following the speech, she held a two-hour closed-door meeting with worldwide diplomats who she has invited to visit Rakhine provided security is deemed to be sufficient to "see for yourselves".

"We can arrange for you to visit these areas and to ask them for yourself why they have not fled. even at a time when everything around them seems to be in a state or turmoil", she said. "Many people would have lost their documents in the fires, and many children were already unregistered", she said.

It states that only refugees registered by the Bangladesh Government can be considered.

There is overwhelming evidence that security forces are engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

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