Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to skip UN General Assembly session

Aung San Suu Kyi: Rohingya crisis 'could have been handled better'

Aung San Suu Kyi: Rohingya crisis 'could have been handled better'

Army-led "clearance operations" last August drove 7,00,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh, carrying with them widespread accounts of atrocities - rape, murder and arson - by Myanmar police and troops.

Suu Kyi said today (September 13) during a speech at the World Economic Forum being held in Vietnam that "there are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could have been handled better" in Rakhine state. "But we believe that for the sake of long-term stability and security we have to be fair to all sides. we can not pick and choose who should be protected by the rule of law".

Yet, asked by former Norwegian foreign minister and WEF president Borge Brende whether current circumstances were very different from what she anticipated, Myanmar state counsellor Suu Kyi said no. Aung San Suu Kyi said the reporters' crime was not journalism but having violated Myanmar's colonial-era Official Secrets Act, and she accused critics of not having "bothered to read" the summary of the judgment.

"If we believe in the rule of law, they have every right to appeal the judgment and to point out why the judgement was wrong".

She added that Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, "were not jailed because they were journalists".

Nobel Peace Prize victor Suu Kyi heads the civilian government in the specially created role of state counsellor, but also serves as minister of foreign affairs.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi defended a Yangon court's decision to jail two Reuters reporters and admitted the Rakhine crisis "could have been handled better" in an onstage interview at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN that also addressed investment and the potential for constitutional change.

"Suu Kyi's problem is she thinks that this kind of blather still works because she's the one saying it, but the reality is people now see through her act and recognize her leading role in Myanmar's campaign to keep a lid on what the military really did to the Rohingya", said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division.

The court maintained that the two journalists had meant to damage Myanmar with documents that police witnesses admitting to planting on the pair just moments before their arrest. "We can not choose and pick who should be protected by the rule of law".

Rohingya refugee girls cross a makeshift bamboo bridge at Kutupalong refugee camp, where they have been living amid uncertainty over their future after they fled Myanmar to escape violence a year ago, in Bangladesh. "They were jailed because. the court has decided they have broken the Official Secrets Act", she said.

However, her reticence on both the fate of the Rohingya and the jailed journalists has been condemned by human rights groups and one-time admirers worldwide. "On all these counts, the trial of the Reuters journalists failed the test".

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