Suu Kyi Says Myanmar Ready to Verify Rohingya Refugee Status
The United Nations has come down heavily on the Myanmar administration for what they have termed as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
File photo of Aung San Suu Kyi during a news conference. (Reuters)
New Delhi: Myanmar leader Suu Kyi on Tuesday broke her silence on the ongoing Rohingya crisis in the Rakhine State and urged the global community to help her unite the country divided on religious and ethnic lines.
"We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicity... we all have the right to our diverse identities," Suu Kyi said during the 30-minute address.
According to an AP report, Suu Kyi also said that most Rohingya Muslim villages were not affected by the violence in Myanmar. She went on to invite diplomats to visit the country.
Suu Kyi further said that Myanmar is ready to verify the refugees' status 'at any time'. The Rohingyas were officially recognized as one of the ethnic communities and as citizens of Myanmar by four successive governments since its independence from the British rule in 1948. The 1982 Citizenship Law, however, removed ethnic and citizenship rights of the Rohingyas.
This has rendered the 4,00,000 strong Rohingya population stateless.
An AFP report says, communal violence has torn through Rakhine state since August 25, leaving hundreds dead and driving more than 4,10,000 of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar into Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, has been decried for failing to speak up publicly for the stateless Rohingya or urge restraint from the military.
In a televised speech on the Rohingya crisis that has sent shockwaves across the world and the United Nations, the Myanmar leader said she “feels deeply" for the suffering of "all people" caught up in conflict scorching through Rakhine State.
"We are concerned to hear the number of Muslims fleeing areas to Bangladesh," she added in the live TV address, condemning any "human rights violations" that may have exacerbated the crisis.
The United Nations has severely criticised the administration for what they have termed as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
At least 1,64,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh, escaping from violence in the western state of Rakhine.
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