International desk – Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said she does not fear the international scrutiny of her government’s handling of the growing Rohingya crisis.
“It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abdicate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violation and unlawful violence,” said Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar.
It was her first nationally televised address after more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh following the army crackdown against suspected Rohingya insurgents to respond to an alleged series of attack by them in northern Rakhine state on August 25.
She said her government is committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout Myanmar.
Suu Kyi has spoken about the situation in Rakhine State since the latest spate of violence broke out.
Stories of rape, murder and torture of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority living in northern Myanmar, allegedly at the hands of the military are commonplace in the overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
As the number of Rohingya refugees crossing the Bangladesh border grows, so too does international criticism of State Counselor Suu Kyi’s failure to condemn the violence or stop it.
“There are allegations and counter allegations and we have to listen to all of them. And we have to make sure these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action,” she said.
But, she said, the restive Rakhine State is just one of many complexities her nascent democracy faces, likening it to a sick person who needs to be treated for multiple ailments.
“We are a young and fragile country facing many problems, but we have to cope with them all,” she said. “We cannot just concentrate on the few.”
In Yangon, crowds gathered outside a large public screen to watch Suu Kyi’s speech. At a rally in the former capital Monday, a few hundred people gathered to show their support for the government.
Some held placards of Nobel Peace Prize winner of Malala Yousafzai’s face crossed out, as the activist recently called Suu Kyi’ to act.
“Shame on you,” the posters said, in reference to Malala. “If you don’t know the real situation of Myanmar, better keep quiet.”