Aung San Suu Kyi admits Rohingya crisis 'could have been handled better'

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

Speaking at a World Economic Forum meeting in Vietnam, Suu Kyi also struck a defiant tone when a moderator asked her about two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar.

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the jailing of two Reuters journalists, despite worldwide condemnation. "We can not choose and pick whom should be protected by the rule of law", the leader added.

Burma's de facto leader said that two Reuters journalists jailed for investigating a massacre in Rakhine state were not convicted because they were journalists but because they broke the law.

"Open courts are created to shed light on the justice process", International Commission of Jurists legal adviser Sean Bain said. "It is hard to know where the orders are coming from, whether this is a matter of policy or it is just the standard operating procedure of many of these officials", said Shamdasani.

Aung San Suu Kyi also addressed the military crackdown in Rakhine a year ago, which sent some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh in a campaign that a United Nations Fact-Finding Mission has said may amount to genocide.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee Rakhine into neighboring Bangladesh following a violent government crackdown in August past year, precipitating one of Asia's worst refugee crisis.

"The worldwide condemnation heading Aung San Suu Kyi's way is fully deserved, she should be ashamed".

"Sadly, in this case, we've seen both institutional and individual failings to hold up the principles of rule of law and human rights".

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However, she remains very popular in Myanmar, where many people see the Rohingya as interlopers from Bangladesh.

Global human rights groups have extensively documented the way Myanmar's military organized the bloodshed, in which at least 10,000 people were killed, according to a United Nations estimate. Myanmar says the ICC has no jurisdiction as it is not a member of the court, but the court ruled it can rule on acts that partly took place in Bangladesh, a member state.

The ARNO said it has also emphasized in its communication that Australia has a duty to prosecute genocide as consistent with their obligations under the worldwide convention on genocide.

But worldwide pressure has continued to mount on Myanmar, and the Rohingya crisis is expected to be a major theme of discussions at the General Assembly.

The task is complicated further as the UN's rights arm is expected to heavily censure Myanmar again in the coming days when it publishes in full the findings of its investigation into atrocities against the Rohingya. It decried "the instrumentalisation of the law and of the courts by the government and military in what constitutes a political campaign against independent journalism".

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley described Suu Kyi's remarks as "unbelievable", in what appeared to be the sharpest direct public rebuke of the Myanmar leader by a U.S. official.

Local media have reported that Suu Kyi will not be attending the NY meeting.

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