MYANMAR’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has publicly defended her country over the Rohingya refugee crisis which has seen more than 400,000 Muslims flee across the border.
Violence erupted over a week ago when the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, claimed it was cracking down on insurgents following an attack on police.
But the Rohingya communities accused security officials and Buddhist mobs of burning their villages down – leaving them forced to flee across the border to Bangladesh.
Ms Suu Kyi, the state counsellor and a Nobel Peace laureate, has had her global image damaged by the crisis.
However, in her first public address since the violence broke out, she said she did not fear “international scrutiny”.
She claimed that many villages were still intact, most Muslims had not fled the state and the violence had ceased.
She said: “We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace and stability and rule of law throughout the state,”
She added that she wanted to speak to Muslims who had fled and others who had stayed in order to get to the root of the crisis.
Her address came after a human rights organisation warned Rohingya Muslims were being wiped off the map in Myanmar.
The Arakan Project, which works to improve conditions for the ethnic minority, is documenting attacks on the three townships in the northern Rakhine state where Rohingya are concentrated.