Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said Tuesday that those who violate human rights in the country will be punished, but she did not publicly criticize Myanmar's military, which has been accused of killing and terrorizing the country's Rohingya ethnic minority.
Rohingya Muslims fleeing a Myanmar military offensive arrived in Bangladesh Monday with fresh accounts of violence and arson as a rights group called for sanctions and an arms embargo to stop what the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.
Yesterday, in a keenly anticipated response to allegations of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar's military, Ms Suu Kyi condemned rights violations and said "verified" refugees could return.
The 72-year-old said that most Muslims had not fled the state and that violence had ceased.
More than 3,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh to escape brutal persecution by Buddhist terrorists and Burmese army, enjoying support of Suu Kyi.
But on Tuesday afternoon local time, Aung San Suu Kyi, who holds the title of State Counselor, addressed the nation with her first substantive words on the situation.
In her speech, Suu Kyi said that Myanmar does not fear worldwide scrutiny and expressed concern about fleeing Muslims, alluding to ethnic Rohingya but without mentioning them by name.
"We will abide by the criteria that was agreed on at that time", said Suu Kyi.
"She said Rohingya receive education and health care access".
The latest wave of violence in western Myanmar's Rakhine State began on August 25, when Rohingyas attacked police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people. Despite her ambition to become the nation's president, Myanmar's current constitution bars her from presidency because her two sons are United Kingdom citizens and she is a widow, which makes her not eligible.
We would like to find out why this exodus is happening, would like to talk to the people who have fled.
When asked what type of allegations and counter-allegations Suu Kyi was referring to, the journalist said, "I think she was asking to not exaggerate the Rohingya issue".
Almost 214 villages in Myanmar's Rakhine state have been completely destroyed, satellite images released by an worldwide rights body revealed on Tuesday.
"It is therefore very distressing that you have failed to live up to the reputation and beliefs we associated with you", said the letter.
She said she felt "deeply" for the suffering of "all people" in the conflict but said most Rohingya had opted to stay in Burma so the situation could not be as severe as has been alleged.
Although India has traditionally received refugees with open arms, the centre has called for the expulsion of Rohingya refugees, terming them as a threat to the nation.