Aung San Suu Kyi condemns human rights violations in Rakhine News
Aung San Suu Kyi condemns human rights violations in Rakhine

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile] in a national address on Tuesday condemned [Reuters report] human rights violations in the nation’s state of Rakhine, without addressing accusations from the UN and rights groups concerning the country’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims. Suu Kyi pledged that, “[a]ction will be taken against all people, regardless of their religion, race and political position, who go against the law of the land and violate human rights.”

Suu Kyi has been sharply criticized by rights groups and the international community for her silence with respect to the plight of the Rohingya. This marks her first address to the nation since the late August attacks by Rohingya insurgents, which provoked a massive military response, forcing more than 400,000 Rohingya civilians to flee to Bangladesh. Suu Kyi is also facing criticism for her government’s refusal to allow UN investigators into the country to investigate the situation.

Amnesty International [advocacy website] has criticized [press release] Suu Kyi’s speech stating that:

she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming. … While it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations in Rakhine state, she is still silent about the role of the security forces in the [campaign of ethnic cleansing through murder and forced displacement of the Rohingya]. Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims that her government “does not fear international scrutiny” ring hollow. Myanmar has repeatedly said it will not co-operate with the UN-mandated Fact Finding Mission established earlier this year. If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow UN investigators into the country, including Rakhine State. The government must also urgently allow humanitarian actors full and unfettered access to all areas and people in need in the region. The military’s campaign of violence and human rights violations in Rakhine State must end immediately.

However, UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official website] took a more cautious tone, acknowledging [statement] Suu Kyi’s speech and Myanmar’s intention to “implement the recommendations of the advisory committee for Rakhine state, that was chaired by Kofi Annan, within the shortest time possible.” But Guterres also similarly emphasized the need to end military operations immediately.