International Desk: Aung San Suu Kyi has broken her silence on the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.
In a live televised address, Myanmar's State Counselor and de facto leader said that she was "aware of the fact that the world's attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine State" and that Myanmar "does not fear international scrutiny."
Suu Kyi stood alone on a large stage in front of a packed auditorium of Myanmar government officials and high ranking militarily personnel in the capital Naypyidaw, began her address by underscoring the fragile nature of Burmese democracy and how little time her own party had been in power.
"After half a century or more of authoritarian rule, now we are in the process of nurturing our nation," she said.
Addressing the situation in Rakhine State directly for the first time since the United Nations labeled the military's actions there a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," Suu Kyi said that her government still needed to find out "what the real problems are."
"There have been allegations and counter-allegations. We have to listen to all of them. We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action," she said.
"We want to find out why this exodus is happening. We'd like to talk to those who have fled, as well as those who have stayed."
More than 400,000 Rohingya, a Muslim minority living in northern Myanmar, have fled since the end of August. From squalid and overcrowded camps in neighboring Bangladesh, they have shared stories of rape, murder and torture, allegedly at the hands of the military.
Suu Kyi did not mention the Rohingya specifically, instead referring in broad terms to Muslims and Muslim groups. Notably, her only use of the term "Rohingya" was in reference to the "Rohingya Salvation Army" which she claimed was "responsible for acts of terrorism."
risingbd/Dhaka/Sep 19, 2017/Nasim