Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Calais: a no-man's land for migrants

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Poland protests for right to abort

Read more

THE DEBATE

Poland's existential struggle: Abortion debate spurs protests over right-wing shift

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Equatorial Guinea's attempted coup began in France,' President Obiang tells FRANCE 24

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: '3 Billboards', 'In The Fade' and 'Downsizing'

Read more

FOCUS

Why Hong Kong is Asia's electronic garbage dump

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

IOM chief: 'Migrants are the quintessential agents of development'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigerian army releases 244 Boko Haram suspects

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Bitcoin takes a tumble over regulation fears

Read more

Asia-pacific

Burma's Suu Kyi makes first visit to region hit by Rohingya violence

© Aung Htet / AFP | Burma's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on October 15, 2017.

Video by Clovis CASALI

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-02

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi arrived on her first visit to conflict-battered northern Rakhine State on Thursday, an official said, an unannounced trip to an area that has seen most of its Rohingya Muslim population forced out by an army campaign.

Suu Kyi, a nobel laureate who leads Myanmar's pro-democracy party, has been hammered by the international community for failing to use her moral power to speak up in defence of the Rohinyga.

Some 600,000 of the stateless minority have fled to Bangladesh since late August carrying accounts of murder, rape and arson at the hands of the Myanmar's army, after militant raids sparked a ferocious military crackdown.

The UN says that crackdown is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, while pressure has mounted on Myanmar to provide security for the Rohingya and allow people to return home.

"The State Counsellor (Suu Kyi's official title) is now in Sittwe and will go to Maungdaw and Buthiduang too. It will be a day trip," government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP, mentioning two of the epicentres of the violence but without elaborating on her schedule.

It is her first trip in office to northern Rakhine, which has hosted the worst of the communal violence that has cut through the western state since 2012, severely damaging Myanmar's global reputation.

It was not clear if Suu Kyi would visit some of the hundreds of Rohinyga villages torched by the army -- allegedly aided by ethnic Rakhine Buddhist locals -- or if she would be taken to see remaining clusters of the Muslim group, who are living in fear and hunger surrounded by hostile neighbours.

Thousands of others are believed to still be camped on a beach near Maungdaw awaiting boats to Bangladesh in increasingly parlous conditions.

The Rohingya are hated in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and widely dismissed as illegal "Bengali" immigrants.

Observers say Suu Kyi has chosen not to criticise the army in fear of a backlash from a powerful institution that controls all security matters.

The plight of the Rohingya also garners little sympathy inside Myanmar, making any defence of the minority a politically unpopular cause amid surging Buddhist nationalist sentiment.

Suu Kyi heads a committee charged with rebuilding Rakhine and repatriating Rohingya from Bangladesh who meet strict criteria for re-entry to Myanmar.

On Wednesday, spokesman Zaw Htay accused Bangladesh of delaying the start of the repatriation process.

Dhaka has yet to send an official list of the Rohingya who have fled since August 25, he told AFP.

The Rohingya have packed into makeshift camps on a poor, already overcrowded slip of border land inside Bangladesh.

Aid groups say the risk of major outbreaks of disease is high while they struggle to deliver food and basic supplies to the unprecedented number of refugees.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-11-02

  • BURMA

    Burma allows UN to restart food distribution in Rakhine state

    Read more

  • BURMA

    Rohingya children facing 'hell on earth' after fleeing Burma, says UNICEF

    Read more

  • BURMA

    Video: 'We are scared to live here', says Rohingya resident in Rakhine state

    Read more

COMMENT(S)