Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sept. 19 made her first national address on the recent Rohingya crisis, in which more than 400,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25.

The recipient of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize said she is aware that the "world's attention" is on Myanmar, but said her government "does not fear international scrutiny." Aung San also said she did not know why people were fleeing and "since the fifth of September, there have been no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations."

The latest unrest was sparked by attacks on police stations across the country's northern Rakhine State in August. The attacks have been blamed on a new militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), and have prompted a military crackdown that has led to allegations of villages being burned as well as multiple killings.

The Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority, are denied citizenship by the Myanmar government, which says they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. It refers to them as Bengali Muslims.

Amnesty International on Sept. 19 said Aung San Suu Kyi's speech was "little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming," and accused her of "burying her head in the sand" by ignoring the abuses by the army.


Photo Credit: Stellina Chen

Editor: David Green