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Suu Kyi speaks out on Rakhine unrest

After period of silence, Suu Kyi calls for transparency and cooperation

Displaced Rohingyas shelter in an overcrowded refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine Displaced Rohingyas shelter in an overcrowded refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine
  • Min Set, Naypyidaw and John Zaw, Mandalay
  • Myanmar
  • November 8, 2012
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Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic lawmakers called on the government yesterday to show ‘transparency’ in its handling of the conflict between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. They also called for more security forces to be deployed.

The opposition leader and chair of the recently formed Rule of Law parliamentary committee has been criticized by rights groups for her silence during the violence against Rohingyas in Rakhine state, which has been ongoing since June.

Suu Kyi told the BBC last week that she could not speak out on the status of the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship.

“People on both sides in Rakhine state had suffered from the communal violence, she said -- it was not her place to champion one side or the other,” BBC news reported.

The statement yesterday from Suu Kyi and other ethnic lawmakers stressed that the issue of Rakhine unrest  is so delicate and broad, everyone must work together to find peaceful ways to resolve the problem that both communities accept.

The urgent need for humanitarian assistance for both communities was also mentioned. Officials say 89 people were killed and more than 30,000 people made homeless in the last month. In June, about 100 people were killed and thousands more lost their homes.

The government must clarify how it applies a 1982 citizenship law for those who consider themselves as Rohingyas, the statement said. Currently, Rohingys are regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The statement did not mention Bangladesh by name, but urged governments that share boundaries to respect and take responsibility for boarder security and immigration matters.

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