Myanmar's leader orders probe of abuses, says some Rohingya can return

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Sept. 19, 2017 at 9:11 AM
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Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Myanmar leader Sung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday that some of the ethnic Muslim Rohingya who have fled the country can start to return.

Over 400,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar in recent weeks to neighboring Bangladesh -- following a coordinated attack in late August by Rohingya militants that killed 12 people in Rakhine state's government outposts.

The assault led to the burning of Rohingya villages and the killing of some individuals by government troops, as members of the Rohingya minority fled to safer locations.

Tuesday, Suu Kyi said Rohingya who could prove they previously lived in Myanmar can return.

"We are ready to start the verification process at any time," she said.

In Buddhist-dominated Myanmar, the Rohingya have no citizenship status and no government verification. Nearly half of the estimated 1.1 million Rohingya there have escaped to Bangladesh, provoking a high-profilehumanitarian crisis.

Suu Kyi, the de facto head of the country and regarded as an icon of democracy, said in a televised address Tuesday that Myanmar had nothing to fear from international scrutiny -- and that all human rights abuses along Myanmar's western border will be investigated.

Myanmar regards the Rohingya as illegal immigrants, and Suu Kyi faces international pressure to end the Myanmar military's campaign against the minority group.

Suu Kyi, in her address Tuesday, said numerous abuses in Rakhine state, not just those aimed at the Rohingya, will be investigated.

At the United Nations on Monday, the United States and Britain said Myanmar would face additional scrutiny if the mass exodus continues. Other counties, notably China and India, have been supportive of the military campaign.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing "understands and supports" Myanmar's efforts to increase security, an agency statement said.

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