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Myanmar leader says Rohingya response could have been better

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 9/13/18, 10:08 am

Myanmar leader and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday acknowledged the country, also known as Burma, could have responded better to last year’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims but defended security forces from charges of civil atrocities. A recent UN human rights report recommended prosecuting senior commanders for genocide and other crimes.

The Myanmar military in August 2017 cracked down on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state after some militants from the region attacked security posts. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Rights groups accused the military of rape, murder, and burning homes, saying the attacks amounted to ethnic cleansing. “There are of course ways in which with hindsight, I think the situation could have been handled better,” Suu Kyi said during the World Economic Forum’s regional meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. But she still defended the security forces, saying, “We have to be fair to all sides” in order to ensure long-term security and stability.

Suu Kyi also defended the seven-year sentencing of two Reuters journalists who reported on the killings in Rakhine state. She insisted the verdict was not related to freedom of expression, saying the journalists were sentenced for violating the Official Secrets Act. “The case has been held in open court,” she said. “If anyone feels there has been a miscarriage of justice, I would like them to point it out.”

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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