Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi calls for more troops in Rakhine


Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the San Francisco Freedom Forum


Spencer Platt

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minority party lawmakers called on the government to deploy more troops to the state of Rakhine, which has seen deadly clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.

"Everyone is responsible for respecting human rights, without discriminating between majority and minority, ethnicity and religion," Suu Kyi said in a statement released by her and fellow politicians from ethnic minority parties, according to Al Jazeera.

The Nobel laureate has been criticized for not specifically condemning the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, an ethnic minority. The clashes in Rakhine state have left at least 180 people dead and 110,000 people displaced since June.

The statement also called on the government to explain its policies towards the Rohingya, and Myanmar's citizenship laws, which keep most of the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country stateless, according to the Associated Press.

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The Daily Telegraph noted that Suu Kyi and Myanmar President Thein Sein's reluctance to speak out for the Rohingya could be attributed to their fear of alienating voters ahead of elections in 2015.

Al Jazeera noted that the statement did not mention the Rohingya by name, but instead addressed the concerns of ethnic Rakhine.

Rohingya Muslims are viewed by the government and many Burmese as illegal immigrants from the neighboring country of Bangladesh, despite evidence that they have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, since the nineteenth century.

In the statement, Suu Kyi also said the Rakhine state issue was "not the responsibility of a single country," which is a likely reference to Bangladesh.

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