Visiting Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that little evidence has emerged to accuse anyone in the military of waging violence against civilians in northern Rakhine state, adding that her government would investigate and release all findings to the public at a later date.
“We have been very careful not to blame anybody in particular unless we have complete evidence as to who has been responsible for what,” she told reporters at the Japan National Press Club in Chiyoda Ward.
“We will find out what really happened and actions will be taken accordingly in the line with the rule of law through due process measures,” she said.
Suu Kyi pointed out that ambassadors to Myanmar from several countries — including the United States — have already visited the region in question and will soon release a report about their findings.
“You’ll have a more balanced idea of what is going on there” after examining the report, she added.
On Oct. 9, militants believed to be Rohingya Muslims attacked police border posts in Rakhine and reportedly killed nine police officers. After the military launched a crackdown in response, reports that civilians were allegedly being murdered and raped by soldiers began to emerge, stoking concern among foreign diplomats and human rights groups.
Until Friday’s news conference, Suu Kyi, who arrived in Japan on Tuesday for a five-day visit, had not publicly addressed the allegations directed at the Rohingya Muslims.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been praised for her efforts to resolve the deep-seated ethnic conflicts that have plagued her country. At the same time, many observers have voiced concern she may not be capable of fully reining in the still-powerful military, which had long ruled the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist.
At Friday’s news conference, Suu Kyi admitted that Myanmar has a long road ahead before it can transition to a fully democratic nation.
“The Constitution is not truly (a) democratic one … it gives a special place to the military. It is not in line with genuine democratic practices,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Suu Kyi met Japanese business leaders in Tokyo, where she called for more investment in her country. She also reportedly emphasized the importance of efforts to improve peace and stability in the country while simultaneously pursuing economic development.
“My country is very complex,” Suu Kyi was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. “We are made up of many ethnic people. As many of you know, we are still not at peace. There is still armed conflict between various armed groups in our country.
“We must have peace in order that our development may be stable and sustainable,” she added.
“In order to have peace, we have to make sure that development is equitable,” she said. “We want all ethnic people to feel that they have equal chance to progress in our country.”
Suu Kyi, who is concurrently serving as state counselor and foreign minister, was scheduled to leave Japan on Saturday.
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