Myanmar leader Suu Kyi denies ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has denied ethnic cleansing of the country’s Rohingya Muslims, despite the UN and human rights organizations saying that the army’s conduct may amount to war crimes. “I don’t think there is ethnic cleansing going on. I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening,” Suu Kyi told the BBC in an interview on Wednesday.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has faced international criticism for the country’s treatment of its one million Rohingya minority community. Most are considered illegal immigrants and face discrimination despite having lived in the country for decades in Rakhine state.
Attacks on border guard posts in October by a previously unknown Rohingya insurgent group killed nine soldiers. This prompted a brutal army crackdown that sent more than 75,000 Rohingya people fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi said that those who had fled were welcome to return. “If they come back they will be safe,” she said. She said the October’s attacks were “totally unexpected” and had been carried out for “no reason we could think of.” They came as the government was preparing to address development and citizenship issues, she added.
The UN human rights council in a report earlier this year accused Myanmar’s army of mass killings, gang rape, torture and burning villages as part of a vicious counter-insurgency campaign.

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