Most Rohingya villages calm - Suu Kyi

Myanmar's de-facto leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi called on the global community on Tuesday to assist the country's authorities in resolving the ongoing Rohingya Muslim minority crisis.

Suu Kyi did not use the name "Rohingya" during her speech, except when referring to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the militant group that attacked police and military posts on August 25, setting off the latest round of violence in Rakhine state.

Human rights activists, fellow Nobel laureates and much of the world's Muslim community have condemned Suu Kyi for failing to use her position as a government leader and moral authority to speak out on behalf of the Rohingya.

She added that said she was concerned by the large number of Muslims who fled to Bangladesh, and said the Myanmar government was ready to verify the refugee status of those who left at any time.

In her speech, Suu Kyi said Myanmar wants to find out why the exodus of Rohingyas is happening and said a verification process for refugees hoping to return will begin.

"There have been allegations and counter allegations, will listen to all, culprits will be punished irrespective of race or religion", Suu Kyi said.

"It is therefore very distressing that you have failed to live up to the reputation and beliefs we associated with you", said the letter.

"We have to make sure these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action". We will also investigate why so many young Muslims are crossing the border and going to Bangladesh. Despite her ambition to become the nation's president, Myanmar's current constitution bars her from presidency because her two sons are United Kingdom citizens and she is a widow, which makes her not eligible. "The government has been making every effort to restore peace and stability and to bring harmony in Rakhine communities", she added.

The Bangladesh government has yet to make any official comments on her address, but a senior official at the foreign ministry told bdnews24.com that Dhaka had always been pressing Myanmar on the "joint verification" of the Rohingyas who have lived in Cox's Bazar for decades.

Australia has pledged a further $15 million in humanitarian support, particularly to Bangladesh which is hosting those who are fleeing.

"We have invited (former UN Secretary General) Dr Kofi Annan to lead a commission that would help us resolve long-standing problems", she said.

"May peace prevail and replace the hate and violence", said Mr McMillan.

During the 30-minute address, Suu Kyi did not touch upon the allegations but said security forces "have been instructed to adhere strictly to the code of conduct in carrying out security operations, exercise all due restraint and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and the harming of innocent civilians".

She did not address this but insisted the country is committed to a sustainable solution to the conflict.

  • Santos West