Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to Miss UN General Assembly Debate

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to miss a key UN debate next week as criticism grows of her handling of a crisis involving the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Some 370,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since violence began last month. Whole villages have burned down.

The UN has accused the government of ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar’s military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies reports that it is targeting civilians.

The Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, which says they are illegal immigrants. They have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for generations but are denied citizenship.

The UN Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

The organisation’s refugee agency says not enough aid is getting through to the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh.

On visiting a camp, the UNHCR’s George William Okoth-Obbo said there needed to be a massive increase in help.

Has Aung San Suu Kyi changed her mind?

Ms Suu Kyi had been expected to participate in discussions at the General Assembly session in New York, which runs from 19 to 25 September.

A government spokesman, Aung Shin, told Reuters news agency that “perhaps” Ms Suu Kyi has “more pressing matters to deal with”, adding: “She’s never afraid of facing criticism or confronting problems.”

Another spokesman said Ms Suu Kyi would instead address the nation on TV on 19 September and “speak for national reconciliation and peace”.

In her first address to the General Assembly as national leader in September last year, the former opposition icon defended her government’s efforts to resolve the crisis over the treatment of the Rohingya.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who lived under house arrest for 15 years for her pro-democracy activism, is widely seen as the head of government in Myanmar.

Read entire article at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41250057

Picture from Reuters

Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the UN General Assembly last year

 

Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Myanmar Near 40,000

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Scores of people are reported to have died since Rohingya militants attacked police posts on 25 August.

Subsequent clashes have sent civilians from all communities fleeing.

Many Rohingya are trying to cross the Naf river to reach Bangladesh. On Friday, 16 more bodies were found washed up on the shore.

Their discovery brings the number of people believed to have died in capsized boats to about 40.

Mainuddin Khan, police chief of the Teknaf border town, told AFP news agency that the group included a young girl, and said they “had been floating in the river for a while”.

On Thursday the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said the “worsening cycle of violence” in Rakhine was of “grave concern and must be broken urgently”.

‘All space occupied’

UN officials in Bangladesh say 38,000 people have now crossed the border, while cautioning that the figure is an estimate.

“We are seeing lots of makeshifts tents and shelters on the side of the road – every available space is being occupied,” UNHCR regional spokeswoman Vivian Tan told the BBC.

Ms Tan said they had heard tales of people being shot as they tried to cross the border, but that it was not clear who was firing.

Thousands more people are waiting to cross the border, reports say. Ms Tan said border controls appeared to vary from place to place.

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh