Development projects are solution for violence-hit Rakhine

Development projects are solution for violence-hit Rakhine

Ronald Pratt
September 20, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Myanmar leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi on Tuesday to urge her government to address "deeply troubling allegations of human rights abuses and violations".

However, the Nobel peace prize victor also sought to create an impression that the prevailing tensions in the Rakhine State were largely the result of violence initiated against the Myanmar security establishment by "armed Muslims and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)".

"They show the destruction of tens of thousands of homes across Maungdaw and Rathedaung Townships, part of the Burmese [Myanmar] security forces' campaign of ethnic cleansing that has forced over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh", the New York-based organization said in an online statement. She said the Myanmar government was ready to take back the Rohingya refugees subject to a "verification process".

Suu Kyi avoided using the term "Rohingya" - a word which many in the Buddhist-majority nation refuse to use.

Speaking in Naypyidaw, the country's capital, Aung San Suu Kyi said she was "aware" of the world's attention on the situation in Rakhine state but that her country "does not fear global scrutiny".

A note from Human Rights Watch's Myanmar researcher, posted on Twitter yesterday before Aung San Suu Kyi spoke, painted a very different picture.

"Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world, " she said.

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Meanwhile, United Nations investigators on Tuesday said they needed "full and unfettered access" to Myanmar to assess the situation prevailing in the country, reported AFP.

"We are prepared to start the verification process at any time", she said referring to those who have fled in the unprecedented exodus to Bangladesh, without guaranteeing a return for all of the refugees.

On Aug. 25, a Rohingya militant group staged a series of attacks against police outposts in Rakhine state.

"There have been allegations and counter-allegations, and we have to listen to all of them", she said. She has previously said her time at Oxford "helped me to understand the people of Burma, who wanted to live a happy life and had never been given the opportunity to live one".

"The worldwide community is committed to seeking a solution that ends this crisis and brings peace and stability to Rakhine State and the rest of Burma", the US ambassador said in a statement. "We'd like to talk to those who have fled, as well as those who have stayed", CNN quoted the de-facto leader as saying.

Rohingya refugees, rights groups and the United Nations have accused the military and Buddhist mobs of using bullets and arson to drive out the Rohingya in a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign.