- Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she does not fear “international scrutiny” of her government’s handling of the growing Rohingya crisis.
- Her first national address on the violence in northern Rakhine state that has seen more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims cross into Bangladesh.
- She said that most Muslims had not fled the state and that violence had ceased.
- Ms. Suu Kyi has faced heavy criticism for her response to the crisis.
The current spate of violence began in August when there was an armed attack on police posts, blamed on Rohingya militants.
That lead to a massive security crackdown by the military, which was later branded “ethnic cleansing” by the UN.
Rohingya Muslims started leaving in vast numbers crossing into Bangladesh with tales of their villages were being burned and saying were facing persecution at the hands of the military.
The military says its operations in the northern Rakhine state are aimed at rooting out militants, and denies targeting civilians.
Access is restricted to the area, but on a government-controlled trip for journalists the BBC found reason to question the official narrative that Muslims were setting fire to their own villages.
Ms Suu Kyi said she was making this speech because she was unable to travel to the UN General Assembly later this week.
She said she wanted the international community to know what was being done by her government to address the situation.
“We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace and stability and rule of law throughout the state,” Ms Suu Kyi said in her address in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
She did not address the allegations against the military, saying only that there had been “no armed clashes or clearance operations” since 5 September.
In a comment being widely criticised by observers, Ms Suu Kyi said most Muslims had decided to stay in Rakhine and that indicated the situation may not be so severe.
She said she wanted to speak to both Muslims that had fled and those that had stayed to find out what was at the root of the crisis.
Ms Suu Kyi has earlier claimed that the narrative was being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation” and said tensions were being fanned by fake news promoting the interests of terrorists.
While Ms Suu Kyi is the de facto head of the civilian government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, it is the military which holds real power in Rakhine state as it is in charge of internal security.