Myanmar: Under intense pressure from the United Nations and the world community, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday broke her silence on the genocide of Rohingya Muslims seeking global support to end the crises but failed to impress the world leaders.
"We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicity... we all have the right to our diverse identities," Suu Kyi said during the 30-minute address.
According to an AP report, Suu Kyi also said that most Rohingya Muslim villages were not affected by the violence in Myanmar. She went on to invite diplomats to visit the country.
Suu Kyi further said that Myanmar is ready to verify the refugees' status 'at any time'.
The Rohingyas were officially recognized as one of the ethnic communities and as citizens of Myanmar by four successive governments since its independence from the British rule in 1948. The 1982 Citizenship Law, however, removed ethnic and citizenship rights of the Rohingyas.
Rights groups however slammed Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense of her country’s conduct in violence that has driven out more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims.
In a hard hitting response after Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech, Amnesty International said it showed the leader and her government were “burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine state”.
“Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims that her government does not fear international scrutiny ring hollow,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s regional director for south-east Asia, who later described the speech as a “mix of untruths and victim-blaming”.
“If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow UN investigators into the country, including Rakhine state. The government must also urgently allow humanitarian actors full and unfettered access to all areas and people in need in the region.”
Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK, said the speech was “business as usual, denial as usual”.
In the Kutupalong refugee camp, Abdul Hafiz told Reuters that Rohingya once trusted Aung San Suu Kyi more than the military, which had not only ruled for half a century before, but also held her under house arrest for many years.
Now Hafiz said she was a “liar” and that Rohingya were suffering more than ever. He said Aung San Suu Kyi should give international journalists more access to the villages to document the destruction.