Suu Kyi pledges due process in violence-racked Rakhine

Mizzima Business Weekly - - NEWS ROUNDUPS -

Myan­mar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said au­thor­i­ties were looking into al­le­ga­tions of atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted against the Mus­lim Ro­hingya mi­nor­ity, as she faces mount­ing crit­i­cism over her han­dling of the cri­sis.

Speak­ing on 4 Novem­ber dur­ing a trip to Ja­pan, the No­bel Prize win­ner said the gov­ern­ment had “not tried to hide” claims of abuse by the mil­i­tary and pledged a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion ac­cord­ing to the law.

The cri­sis in north­ern Rakhine state, where ac­tivists and res­i­dents say troops have raped vil­lagers, looted towns and torched homes, has posed the big­gest chal­lenge to Suu Kyi’s gov­ern­ment of her six months in power.

“We have not ac­cused any par­tic­u­lar or­gan­i­sa­tion or group of en­gag­ing in any par­tic­u­lar kind of ac­tiv­ity be­cause we do not have enough ev­i­dence,” she told a press con­fer­ence.

“All this will be made pub­lic as soon as we gather ev­i­dence, and it will go through due process of law,” she said.

“There was one at­tack on a po­lice out­post as late as yes­ter­day, when one po­lice­man was killed, and there have been Mus­lims killed as well since the at­tacks be­gan on the ninth of Oc­to­ber.

“We have not tried to hide any of this. We are try­ing to get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter.”

Aid agen­cies say more than 15,000 peo­ple have been dis­placed since the mil­i­tary took con­trol of an area close to the Bangladesh bor­der, home to the state­less Ro­hingya mi­nor­ity.

For­eign diplo­mats briefed me­dia on Fri­day af­ter re­turn­ing from a visit to the flash­point area, where the mil­i­tary has barred in­ter­na­tional ob­servers since the bor­der post at­tacks.

UN res­i­dent and humanitarian co­or­di­na­tor Renata Des­sal­lien said the gov­ern­ment had agreed to al­low aid into the re­gion, where an es­ti­mated 150,000 peo­ple are with­out their usual as­sis­tance.

“The gov­ern­ment agreed to that all pre­vi­ous on­go­ing humanitarian de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance could start,” she told jour­nal­ists.

Suu Kyi, who wraps up her five­day visit to Ja­pan on Satur­day, said the diplo­mats were ex­pected to file a re­port on their find­ings.

“I think when you hear from them you will have a more bal­anced idea of what is go­ing on there,” she said.

“We have been very care­ful not to blame any­body in par­tic­u­lar un­less we have com­plete ev­i­dence as to who was re­spon­si­ble for what.”

Dur­ing Fri­day’s press con­fer­ence, Suu Kyi also thanked Ja­pan for its aid and en­cour­aged the strength­en­ing of the bi­lat­eral ties.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has pledged to of­fer aid and in­vest­ments to­talling al­most $8 bil­lion over five years to help de­vel­op­ment and democrati­sa­tion in Myan­mar.


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