Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday addressed the nation in a 30-minute televised speech and broke her silence on the raging Rohingya crisis. She reached out to the global community in a broad appeal for support over a refugee crisis the UN has decried as "ethnic cleansing", urging outsiders to help her nation unite across religious and ethnic lines and offering a pathway back to the country for some of the Rohingya Muslims forced to flee by army operations.
Communal violence has torn through Rakhine state since 25 August, leaving hundreds dead and driving more than 410,000 of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar into Bangladesh. Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, has been decried for failing to speak up publicly for the stateless Rohingya or urge restraint from the military.
But in the televised speech on Tuesday, she reached out to her critics, deploying the soaring rhetoric that once made her a darling of the global rights community. Here are few important quotes from her speech:
- I am aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in the Rakhine state. Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny. We are committed to a sustainable solution that will lead to peace, stability and development for all communities.
- Since 5 September, there have been no armed clashes and no clearance operations. We are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh. We want to find out why the exodus is happening. We would like to talk to those who have fled, and those who have stayed — more than 50 percent of villages of Muslims are intact and are as they were before the attacks took place.
- Our government has not yet been in power for even 18 months; we will complete 18 months at the end of the year. It is too short a time to expect us to meet and overcome all the challenges that we are expected to do. This does not mean we are not ready to overcome the challenges.
- We feel deeply for the suffering of all the people who have been caught up in the conflict. Those who have had to flee their homes are many, not just Muslims and Rakhines, but also small minority groups. The government is working to restore the situation to normalcy.
- The government is working hard to enhance existing relations with Bangladesh. We hope to take forward the arrangements with regard to the security at the border, which we are trying to implement together.
- Myanmar is prepared to start the verification process of refugees who wish to return. Those who have been verified as refugees will be accepted without any problems and with full assurance of security and access to humanitarian aid.
- There are allegations and counter-allegations. Action will be taken against all people, regardless of religion, race, political affiliation who go against the laws of the land and violate human rights as accepted by the international community. Our government has emerged as a body committed to the defence of human rights.
- Myanmar wants peace rather than war, harmony rather than conflict. The government wants to put an end to the suffering to our people as quickly as possible. We don’t want Myanmar to be divided on the basis of religious beliefs or ethinicities or political ideology. We have the right to our diverse identities.
- We invite our friends who understand and sympathise with our aspirations and problems to join us to find new paths and answers towards peace, stability and harmony.
- We would like to make our country a nation within whose border everybody can live in security and in prosperity.
- Even before this crisis started, we had ensure that development work had started in Rakhine for the prosperity of all. We want peace and progress, we work for peace, stability and rule of law of the land.
- We will take all measures mentioned to ensure that there is peace in Rakhine and Myanmar as a whole. We will also investigate why so many young Muslims are crossing the border and going to Bangladesh. We will ask them why they are doing this?
- People expect us to make things okay in a very short span of time. 18 months is a very short period of time to solve the crisis. We will rise to the challenge over time
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 12:39:44 IST