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On Aung San Suu Kyi

20 September 2017

Marzuki Darusman decried stepped-up violence in Myanmar over the last month that has caused more than 400,000 people to flee, and asked the United Nations -backed Human Rights Council for a six-month extension until next September for his team's first written report. "The authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations, and allow unhindered humanitarian access".

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi today for the first time addressed the situation in Rakhine amid the growing worldwide criticism following ethnic cleansing that forced more than 400,000 minority Rohingya Muslims from the country.

On August 25, the latest round of violence kicked off with a major military and security operation that included helicopter attacks and the burning of Rohingya villages in response to an attack by the Rohingya militants that killed 12 security officers.

So when Suu Kyi says she's just a politician and "not Mother Theresa", she is not balancing competing interests and deterring aggressors, but settling into a life of grisly realpolitik.

With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear global scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves.

She also said it was not understood why the exodus happened in Rakhine state as she needs to talk to those who fled and who were still at home to understand the situation.

Burma has rejected allegations of ethnic cleansing, claiming its security forces were carrying out clearance operations to defend against the insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which claimed responsibility for the August attacks and similar, smaller raids in October a year ago.

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Suu Kyi did not refer to the Rohingya by name, in keeping with the government's view that members of the ethnic and religious minority are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and not among the dozens of national ethnicities officially recognized by Myanmar.

The Rohingya, who live mainly in northern Rakhine state near the Bangladesh border, have had a long and troubled history in this predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million.

In an address timed to pre-empt likely censure at the UN General Assembly in NY, she said Myanmar stood ready "at any time" to repatriate refugees in accordance with a "verification" process agreed with Bangladesh in the early 1990s. That would effectively bar the stateless Rohingya, who are now denied any legal status in Myanmar, have at various times had their documents confiscated by authorities, and fled to Bangladesh in most cases without collecting their belongings. "They are as they were before the (Aug. 25) attacks took place", she said. She invited the diplomats with visit villages that weren't affected so they could learn along with the government "why are they not at each other's throats in these particular areas".

Anika said she was able to escape in the confusion and friendly people helped her get across the river Naf to Bangladesh.

The Myanmar government does not use the term "Rohingya" and does not recognise the people as an official ethnicity, which means the Rohingya are denied citizenship and effectively rendered stateless.

Human rights monitors have accused Burmese security forces and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes of launching campaign of violence, rape and arson aimed at driving out the Muslim population. "To the people, she is defending the country's image".

On Aung San Suu Kyi