Aung San Suu Kyi: Rohingya stories “a huge iceberg of misinformation”
In her first public comments since the violent flare-up, the Nobel prize winner slammed the “misinformation” that is “calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists”. The statement comes after a call with Turkish President Erdogan. At least 400 people die in Rakhine fighting. About 125,000 Rohingya sought shelter in Bangladesh. More than 25,000 non-Muslim residents have been evacuated.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The outrage of the international community over Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslims is being fuelled by “a huge iceberg of misinformation”, State Councillor and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday after the UN issued calls for her government to end the violence.
Rakhine State's latest crisis began on 25 August when militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked dozens of police stations and military bases.
Fighting and a military counter-offensive have left at least 400 people dead and triggered the flight of residents from the villages of the region. About 125,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, whilst more than 25,000 non-Muslim residents have been evacuated with state assistance.
The Myanmar government says its security forces are engaged in a legitimate campaign against "Bengali terrorists" responsible for a series of attacks on the police and army since last October. Local authorities and ethnic groups accuse Rohingya militants of torching homes and killing Buddhist and Hindu civilians.
In her first public comments since the start of the latest fighting, Aung San Suu Kyi slammed the “misinformation” by foreign governments and media, which in her view is “calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists”.
The comments were made in a statement put out by her office following a call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been particularly critical of Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya, dubbing it a “genocide”.
She highlighted a now deleted tweet last week by Turkey’s deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek showing a series of gruesome pictures of bodies he wrongly claimed were of dead Rohingya.
Ms Suu Kyi defended her government’s actions saying her administration was “defending all the people” in Rakhine state.
The State Councillor is quoted as saying: "We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection.” Hence, “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."
In recent days, the Nobel peace prize laureate came in for harsh criticism from the international community and Islamic countries for her silence in the face of the growing humanitarian crisis.
Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of a Nobel peace prize, appealed to her to stop the "persecution" of Rohingya and condemn the violence.