Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be to miss next week’s UN General Assembly debate as criticism of her handling of the Rohingya crisis grows.
Some 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since the outbreak of violence last month. Whole villages have been burned down.
The government has been accused by the UN of ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar’s military says This particular will be fighting Rohingya militants along with denies reports in which This particular will be 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 nevertheless are denied citizenship.
The UN Security Council will be due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.
The organisation’s refugee agency says not enough aid will be 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 likely to participate in discussions at the General Assembly session in brand new York, which runs coming from 19 to 25 September.
A government spokesman, Aung Shin, told Reuters news agency in which “perhaps” Ms Suu Kyi has “more pressing matters to deal with”, adding: “She’s never afraid of facing criticism or confronting problems.”
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, will be widely seen as the head of government in Myanmar.
Ms Suu Kyi has been criticised by former supporters from the West for failing to do enough to prevent the violence in Rakhine state.
Last week she said in which the crisis was being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”.
Fellow Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu along with Malala Yousafzai, have called on Ms Suu Kyi to stop the violence.
What will be happening in Rakhine state?
The latest wave of Rohingya fleeing their homes began on 25 August, following attacks by Rohingya militants on police along with military posts.
Those who have fled say Myanmar troops responded to the attacks using a brutal campaign of violence along with village burnings aimed at driving them out.
Myanmar’s envoy to the UN has blamed the Rohingya insurgents for the violence in Rakhine state along with said in which his country would likely never tolerate such atrocities.
Though access to Rakhine state will be heavily controlled, the BBC’s Jonathan Head was one of a few journalists taken on a government-run tour recently along with witnessed Muslim villages being burned with police doing nothing to stop This particular.
While the current crisis has seen nearly 400,000 Rohingya flee, the UN says Bangladesh was already hosting several hundred thousand undocumented Rohingya who had fled earlier violence.
some other Rohingya have been living in camps for displaced people within Myanmar.
Analysis: Could Aung San Suu Kyi stop the violence?
Jonathan Head, South-East Asia Correspondent
Aung San Suu Kyi makes most of the important decisions in her party along with cabinet. She also holds the position of foreign minister. The actual president, Htin Kyaw, in practice answers to her.
nevertheless the military still incorporates a guiding role in what This particular calls a “discipline-flourishing democracy”.
The military retains control of three vital ministries – home affairs, defence along with border affairs. in which means This particular also controls the police.
along with on the issue of the Rohingya, Ms Suu Kyi must tread especially carefully. There will be little public sympathy for them along with inside Rakhine state the Rakhine Buddhists are even more hostile. Conflict between them along with the Rohingya, who they refer to as Bengalis, goes back many decades.
The Rakhine nationalist party, the ANP, dominates the local assembly. There will be strong sympathy for them among the police, who are almost half Rakhine Buddhist, along with the military. The military will be the real power in northern Rakhine state, along the border with Bangladesh, where access will be tightly controlled.
along with the powerful armed forces commander Gen Min Aung Hlaing has made This particular clear he has little sympathy for the Rohingya. The military sees itself currently as fighting an externally funded terrorist movement, a view shared by much of the Myanmar public.
So Aung San Suu Kyi has very little power over events in Rakhine state. along with speaking out in support of the Rohingya would likely almost certainly prompt an angry reaction coming from Buddhist nationalists.
Read more coming from Jonathan: How much power does Aung San Suu Kyi actually have?
- coming from human rights heroine to alienated icon
- Truth, lies along with Aung San Suu Kyi
Who are the Rohingya?
On Tuesday, Myanmar denounced the suggestion by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, in which its treatment of Rohingya Muslims amounted to “ethnic cleansing”.
There were at least a million members of the Rohingya ethnic group living in Myanmar, most of them Muslim, though some are Hindu. They are thought to have their origins in what will be currently Bangladesh along with the Indian state of West Bengal, nevertheless many have been present in Myanmar for centuries.
The law in Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya ethnic minority as one of its “national races” along with they are effectively denied citizenship. Human Rights Watch describes the Rohingya among the largest stateless populations from the planet.
“Restrictions on movement along with lack of access to basic health care have led to dire humanitarian conditions for those displaced by earlier waves of violence,” the group says.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on Myanmar to take the Rohingya refugees back.
On Wednesday, the head of Myanmar’s armed forces, Gen Min Aung Hlaing, said in which the country “could not accept along with recognise the term ‘Rohingya’ by hiding the truth” (meaning Myanmar’s claim in which they are illegal immigrants coming from Bangladesh).
“Rakhine ethnics [Buddhists] are our indigenous people who had long been living there since the time of their forefathers,” he said.
- Who are the Rohingya group behind attacks?