Could have been handled better: Suu Kyi on Rohingya crisis

Hanoi: Myanmar State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday said that her government could have handled the situation in her country’s Rakhine state better.

“There are of course ways in which we, with hindsight, might think the situation might have been handled better. We believe that for the sake of long-term stability and security we have to be fair to all sides, that rule of law must apply to everybody,” Suu Kyi said while interacting with the President of the World Economic, Forum Børge Brende.

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine in August 2017 after Myanmar’s army launched a massive crackdown in its northern state, retaliating the attacks by insurgents, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on the country’s police posts and a military base.

Suu Kyi also revealed that before the violence in the state escalated, she had tried to set up a body to address the deep-rooted tensions in the province and promote peace.

“We organised a central committee for rule of law in the Rakhine… But after the first terrorist attacks on October 2016 some of our plans had to be postponed because we had to deal with the immediate problems,” she said.
Talking about Rakhine’s ethnic composition and her duty, the State Counsellor asserted that there are several ethnic groups in the region and the government needs to be fair to them even if they do not matter to the rest of the world.

“In the Rakhine there are many small ethnic and religious groups, not just Muslims and Rakhines. There are very small ethnic groups who are fast disappearing and could disappear altogether. We have to be fair to all of them even if the rest of the world is not interested in the smaller groups,” said Suu Kyi.

The South-East Asian country signed an agreement with Bangladesh in November to resettle around one million citizens of Rakhine State currently living as refugees in Bangladesh.

Last month, the United Nations, in an independent investigation, called for probe and prosecution of Myanmar military leaders for “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” against Rohingya Muslims.