April 22, 2018

One language, two audiences for Suu Kyi's first Rakhine speech

20 September 2017, 12:41 | Camille Rivera

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In her speech, Suu Kyi said that Myanmar does not fear worldwide scrutiny and expressed concern about fleeing Muslims, alluding to ethnic Rohingya but without mentioning them by name.

Nyan Win, a central executive committee of the ruling National League for Democracy party, said as there are thousands of refugees in Bangladesh they need documents of their refugee status from Myanmar to accept them.

The leader said she nevertheless wanted the worldwide community to know what was being done by her government. "This is more of the same from Aung San Suu Kyi who calls for calm but fails to call out the military for the human rights violations they continue to commit in Rakhine state".

Big screens broadcast Aung San Suu Kyi's speech on the Rohingya crisis nationwide as she tried to mollify the world without riling Myanmar's army or challenging longstanding prejudices - but few could understand her clipped English.

In her nationwide address, Suu Kyi insisted that army "clearance operations" in response to attacks by Rohingya militants had finished on September 5 and denied that Rakhine was in flames. "Human rights violations and all other acts that impair stability and harmony and undermine the rule of law will be addressed in accordance with strict laws and justice", she said.

The NGO said it analyzed satellite imagery from between August 25 and September 16 showing more than 220 villages burned to the ground.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's assurances on Tuesday that Myanmar stood ready to start the verification process at any time to ensure repatriation of refugees who have fled to Bangladesh over the past month has been received by the Rohingya community living in Delhi with much scepticism.

She says the government is working to restore normalcy.

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

"If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow United Nations investigators into the country, including Rakhine state", Amnesty said.

"If you are interested in joining us in our endeavors, please let us know", Suu Kyi said, adding "We can arrange for you to visit these areas and to ask (those who have stayed) why they have not fled, why they have chosen to remain in their villages".

"She said a lot about the development of the country and the people and showed that people should be united".

Many of the Rohingya are suffering from a variety of diseases including diarrhea and fever, however medical teams trying to given treatment, the civil surgeon's office said, although the teams are not enough for all.

Some observers who attended the speech said it was progress for Suu Kyi to invite diplomats to at least some Rohingya villages.

Human rights monitors have accused Burmese security forces and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes of launching campaign of violence, rape and arson aimed at driving out the Muslim population. The U.N.'s migration agency on Tuesday raised its estimate of the number of refugees in Bangladesh to 421,000, and UNICEF says more than a quarter-million of those are children. "To the people, she is defending the country's image".

Cox's Bazar Assistant Deputy Commissioner and Executive Magistrate AKM Lutfor Rahman said out of a total of around 409,000 Rohingya in Ukhiya, 7,078 had been registered by the government by Tuesday.

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