Updated: September 19, 2017 6:56:04 pm
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said the country will soon begin the verification process for the return of Rohingya refugees who had fled the western Rakhine state in recent weeks in the backdrop of an army crackdown.
Suu Kyi, in a State of the Union address, the first since attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on August 25 sparked a military response forcing over 410,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh, said her administration wants to bring an end to suffering of all people as quickly as possible.
“We don’t want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicities. Hate and fear are main scourges,” Suu Kyi said. She added the responsibility to establish peace lies with the government.
The pro-democracy leader, who spent 15 years under house arrest during military rule in Myanmar, condemned the violation of human rights and unlawful violence. She has been criticised by the international community for her silence on the conflict that has festered in recent weeks.
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“We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace and stability and rule of law throughout the state…human rights violations and all other acts that impair stability and harmony and undermine the rule of law will be addressed in accordance with strict laws and justice,” she vowed.
Watch Suu Kyi’s speech
Suu Kyi went on to add that Myanmar is making efforts to restore peace and stability in the western state. “We want to find out why this exodus is happening. We would like to talk to those who have fled as well as those who have stayed. I think it is very little known a great majority of Muslims in the Rakhine state have not joined the exodus…the government has been making every effort to restore peace and stability and to bring harmony in Rakhine communities,” she said.
Describing Myanmar as a “complex country”, Suu Kyi said the country does not fear scrutiny from international community. “Burma is a complex nation. People expect us to overcome all the challenges in shortest time possible,” she said. “Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny, we are committed to finding a sustainable solution in Rakhine state.”
Also read: Key takeaways from Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech
At the same time, she opened the door to international observers, asking them to visit the south-east Asian country and see things ‘for yourself.’
“We would like you (world) to think of our country as a whole, not just as little afflicted areas,” she said.
Suu Kyi holds offices of state counsellor and foreign minister even though she is barred from the presidency as her children have British citizenship.
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