Myan­mar’s Suu Kyi cre­ates new aid com­mit­tee

Em­bat­tled leader urges unity in Ro­hingya cri­sis

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - The As­so­ci­ated Press

YANGON, Myan­mar — Myan­mar’s em­bat­tled leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, called for na­tional unity Thurs­day and said she has cre­ated a com­mit­tee that will over­see all in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal as­sis­tance in vi­o­lence-struck Rakhine state.

More than 500,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims have fled from the state to neigh­bor­ing Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when se­cu­rity forces re­sponded to at­tacks by a mil­i­tant Ro­hingya group with a broad crack­down on the long-per­se­cuted Mus­lim mi­nor­ity. Many houses were burned down.

The U.N. has called the vi­o­lence “text­book eth­nic cleans­ing.”

Suu Kyi ac­knowl­edged in a speech on state-run tele­vi­sion that the coun­try is fac­ing wide­spread crit­i­cism over the refugee cri­sis and called for unity in tack­ling the prob­lem.

She said her govern­ment is hold­ing talks with Bangladesh on the re­turn of “those who are now in Bangladesh.” She gave no de­tails, but of­fi­cials have sug­gested they would need to pro­vide res­i­dency doc­u­ments, which few have.

Myan­mar’s Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity de­nies that Ro­hingya Mus­lims are a sep­a­rate eth­nic group and re­gards them as hav­ing mi­grated il­le­gally from Bangladesh, although many fam­i­lies have lived in Myan­mar for gen­er­a­tions. Suu Kyi did not use the word “Ro­hingya” in her speech but re­ferred to sev­eral other eth­nic mi­nori­ties by name.

Suu Kyi, a No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate and for­mer po­lit­i­cal pris­oner, has been widely crit­i­cized out­side Myan­mar for not speak­ing out on be­half of the Ro­hingya.

She said in her speech that those who re­turn from Bangladesh would need to be re­set­tled, with­out pro­vid­ing de­tails, and that de­vel­op­ment must be brought to Rakhine, one of the coun­try’s poor­est ar­eas, to achieve a durable peace.

nd that it would co­or­di­nate all ef­forts to cre­ate a “peace­ful and de­vel­oped Rakhine state.”

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