Amid confirmed reports of Myanmar regime’s ethnic cleansing and genocide on Rohingyas, the mainly Buddhist country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she does not know why the minority Muslims are fleeing in hundreds of thousands.
While according to UN estimates over 417,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in less than a month as their villages burned and hundreds were killed, the Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi says, “We want to understand why this exodus is happening. We would like to talk to those who have fled as well as those who have stayed.”
The Rohingyas’ plight has been decried as ethnic cleansing by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Though fires have continued to flare in recent days in northern Rakhine state, home to most Rohingya, the Buddhist regime’s leader told on Tuesday foreign diplomats gathered for her speech in Naypyitaw, the capital, “there have been no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations” since September 5.
She invited the diplomats with visit villages that weren’t affected so they could learn along with the government “why are they not at each other’s throats in these particular areas,” implying that Rohingya who were driven from their villages were themselves responsible.
Her claims came while according to associated Press, of the 21 Rohingya villages in Rathedaung, to the north, only five were not targeted. Three camps for Rohingya who were displaced in communal riots five years ago also were torched.
Smoke, flames in Myanmar are visible from the Bangladeshi side of the border near Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf area (Photo: AP)
The Rohingya have had a long and troubled history in Myanmar, where many of the country’s 60 million people look on them with disdain.
Though members of the long-persecuted religious minority first arrived generations ago, they were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, denying them almost all rights and rendering them stateless. They cannot travel freely, practice their religion, or work as teachers or doctors, and they have little access to medical care, food or education.