ROHINGYA CRISIS

Aung San Suu Kyi to address nation next week

Aung-San (File) Aung San Suu Kyi | Reuters

Nobel Laureate State Councillor and leader of National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi will address the nation on the Rohingyas Muslims crisis engulfing Rakhine state next week.

Suu Kyi's addess will be her first speech since scores were killed in the violence that has sent nearly 3,80,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Myanmar State Counsellor and de facto leader has decided to skip the next week's United Nations General Assembly debate as criticism of her handling of the Rohingya crisis has grown immensely.

At a press conference late Wednesday, government spokesman Zaw Htay said Suu Kyi would "speak for national reconciliation and peace" in a televised address on September 19.

According to reports, about 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's northern Rakhine state for Bangladesh, Nepal and India since the outbreak of violence last month.

Amid a dramatic increase in the number of refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar's Northern Rakhine state, UNHCR called for urgent action to address the root causes of the recent surge in violence, so that people are no longer compelled to flee and can eventually return home in safety and dignity.

"In the last two weeks an estimated 370,000 Rohingya refugees have sought safety in Bangladesh. The limited shelter capacity is already exhausted. Refugees are now squatting in makeshift shelters that have mushroomed along the road and on available land in the Ukhiya and Teknaf areas," said a UNHCR said in a briefing in Geneva.

The Rohingyas, 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 for generations but are denied citizenship.

The UN Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has been criticised by former supporters in the West for failing to do enough to prevent the violence.

"The Rohingyas are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar who have faced discrimination and extreme poverty for decades. They have not been allowed to exercise their basic rights including the freedom to move, right to education, work and other social, civil and political rights. The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solutions," UNHCR added.

The UN refugee agency further said that while most of Rohingya refugees arrive on foot, mostly walking through the jungle and mountains for several days, thousands are braving long and risky voyages across the rough seas of the Bay of Bengal.

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