Myanmar's Rohingyas: victims of a democracy still under military sway

Bangladesh to build new settlements for Rohingya Muslims - Yahoo News India

The reasons why more than 400,000 Rohingya have escaped over the border into Bangladesh have been well documented by human rights groups: the Myanmar army, responding to an August 25 insurgent attack, is carrying out deadly "clearance operations" in the western state of Rakhine, shooting civilians as they flee and burning Rohingya villages to the ground.

But in a closely watched speech, Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize victor who led the opposition to Myanmar's former military rulers, defended the army that once kept her under house arrest for more than a decade.

The Nobel Peace laureate's remarks came in her first address to the nation since attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on August 25 sparked a military response that has forced 421,000 Rohingya Muslims into neighbouring Bangladesh.

"They looted our house, then marched us with more than a hundred of our neighbours to a secluded spot", she told the Dhaka Tribune.

Most of the several hundred thousand Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh before this latest wave still aren't registered.

She said that most Muslims are staying in their homes and that more than 50 percent of their villages are intact, but that she is "concerned" to hear that many are fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh. "This is more of the same from Aung San Suu Kyi who calls for calm but fails to call out the military for the human rights violations they continue to commit in Rakhine state".

Members of the military have reportedly been laying landmines along the border to make sure they do not return and mobs of ethnic Rakhines, who are predominantly Buddhist, have reportedly threatened Rohingya, who are predominantly Muslim, to "leave or they will kill them all".

"We don't have proper documents, it's very hard to prove", said Mohammed Faruque, a long-term refugee, who has lived in the Kutupalong camp since 1991, when his father brought him as a one-year-old boy.

Many Rohingya living in India fled persecution in Burma in 2012.

This failure stems partly from the legacy of the military regime, and partly from Myanmar's geostrategic significance and natural resources, which impel the country's powerful allies to ward off any effective UN Security Council resolutions against the state's grave human rights violations.

The leader said she nevertheless wanted the global community to know what was being done by her government.

Thus, it becomes unclear whether she referred to the state's entire population, or specifically the Rohingya population, who have been disproportionally affected by recent violence according to the United Nations and others.

In her speech, Suu Kyi invited diplomats to visit villages that weren't affected so they could learn why fighting did not take place in those areas.

"She said a lot about the development of the country and the people and showed that people should be united".

The rights group blasted Suu Kyi for remaining "silent about the role of the security forces", whom they have accused of being "engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing".

SILENCE BROKEN Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a national address in Naypyidaw on Tuesday.

The Myanmar government does not use the term "Rohingya" and does not recognise the people as an official ethnicity, which means the Rohingya are denied citizenship and effectively rendered stateless.

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