Burma. The current leader of Burma, San Suu Kyi used her first interview with the western media in years to deny the existence of ethnic cleansing charges against the Rohingya minority in her country as battles rage within Burma still between rebel and government forces.
Previously she had led the pro-democracy and human rights movement against a military dictatorship in Burma (Myanmar), Suu Kyi has attracted widespread criticism for her failure to condemn persecution of the Rohingya minority.
Speaking to a reporter on Wednesday, Suu Kyi said, “I’m just a politician. I’m not quite like Margaret Thatcher… but on the other hand, I’m no Mother Teresa either.”
The Burmese military has been accused of human rights abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Rakhine State, including mass killings and gang rapes, as it fights a group of Muslim insurgents.
“I think there’s a lot of hostility there,” said Suu Kyi on Wednesday, adding that “It’s Muslims killing Muslims as well if they think that they are collaborating with the authorities.”
The United Nations has claimed more than 1,000 Rohingya have been killed in security forces’ operations in Rakhine, and at least 70,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since late 2016.
Responding to questions if she feared being remembered as a genocidal killer who failed to stand up to ethnic cleansing in her own country, Suu Kyi asserted, “No because I don’t think there’s ethnic cleansing going on.” the leader tersely clipped,“I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening.”