Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi defends jailing of Reuters journalists
File photo of Aung San Suu Kyi. Photograph: (Reuters)
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday that in hindsight, her government could have handled the Rohingya crisis better.
She also said that that two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years for investigating a massacre of Rohingya in Rakhine state were not convicted because they were journalists but because they broke the law.
"They were not jailed because they were journalists" but because "the court has decided that they had broken the Official Secrets Act", AFP quoted Suu Kyi as saying in her first direct comments on the issue delivered at the World Economic Forum in Hanoi.
But we believe that in order to have long-term security and stability we have to be fair to all sides. We can’t choose who should be protected by rule of law,' Suu Kyi said
Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine after government troops led a brutal crackdown on them in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base in August 2017.
“There are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could’ve been handled better,” Reuters quoted Suu Kyi as saying.
“But we believe that in order to have long-term security and stability we have to be fair to all sides. We can’t choose who should be protected by rule of law,” she said.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi heads the civilian government in the specially-created role of state counsellor, but also serves as minister of foreign affairs.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Suu Kyi will not attend the UN General Assembly in New York next week, media reported lat week, amid growing calls for Myanmar's security forces to be held accountable for alleged crimes against Rohingya.
She also skipped the assembly a year ago, just after the violence flared, after she had been expected to attend.
Her administration has largely denied allegations of abuses during the operation and has pledged to accept back those who fled.