Vastavam web: Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived on her first visit to conflict-battered northern Rakhine State today, an official said, an unannounced trip to an area that has seen most of its Rohingya Muslim population forced out by an army campaign.Suu Kyi, a nobel laureate who leads Myanmar’s pro- democracy party, has been hammered by the international community for failing to use her moral power to speak up in defence of the Rohinyga.The UN says that crackdown is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, while pressure has mounted on Myanmar to provide security for the Rohingya and allow people to return home.
“The State Counsellor (Suu Kyi’s official title) is now in Sittwe and will go to Maungdaw and Buthiduang too. It will be a day trip,” government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP, mentioning two of the epicentres of the violence but without elaborating on her schedule.Thousands of others are believed to still be camped on a beach near Maungdaw awaiting boats to Bangladesh in increasingly parlous conditions.
The Rohingya are hated in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and widely dismissed as illegal “Bengali” immigrants.
Observers say Suu Kyi has chosen not to criticise the army in fear of a backlash from a powerful institution that controls all security matters.The plight of the Rohingya also garners little sympathy inside Myanmar, making any defence of the minority a politically unpopular cause amid surging Buddhist nationalist sentiment.Dhaka has yet to send an official list of the Rohingya who have fled since August 25, he told AFP.The Rohingya have packed into makeshift camps on a poor, already overcrowded slip of border land inside Bangladesh.