Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said the country would soon begin a verification process for the return of Rohingya refugees, who had fled the western Rakhine state, in a bid to aid those who wish to return.
"We are concerned about the number of Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. We are prepared to start the verification process soon," she said, referring to the unprecedented exodus of the Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh, in a nationally televised address, the first since an army crackdown on the minority community was branded as "ethnic cleansing" by the United Nations.
"It is not the intention of the Myanmar Government to apportion blame or to abdicate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violation and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout the state," she added.
The de-facto leader of Mynmar further said she felt "deeply" for the suffering of all people caught up in conflict scorching through the Rakhine state, urging the world to see the country as a whole, and not as a "nation divided by religious beliefs."
She said that it was "sad" that the international community was concentrated on one among the country's many problems.
"We don't want Myanmar to be known as a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicities. Hate and fear are the main scourge. I believe the real responsibility lies with the people of this country. But we would like our friends to join our endeavour. We will give security to you," the world leader stated.
"We too are concerned. We want to find out what the real problems are. There have been allegations and counter-allegations. We have to listen to all of them. We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take any action," she added.
Suu Kyi also said her government does not fear "international scrutiny" into her government's handling of the situation in the Rakhine state.
Suu Kyi further stressed on the short time her government has been in power for, adding, "I am aware of the fact the world attention is focussed on the situation in the Rakhine State as a responsible member of the community of nations. Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny and is committed to bring peace and sustainable solution that will bring peace, stability and development for all communities within that state."
"Myanmar has invited former U.N. general secretary Dr. Kofi Annan to lead a commission that would help us resolve the long-standing problems in the Rakhine state. We are determined to implement recommendations of the commission. They will bring speedy improvement in the situation within a short frame of time. The government is trying its best to restore the situation to normalcy," Suu Kyi added.
She further said that development has to be achieved after nurturing democratic values, establishing peace and stability and achieving sustainable development. "Burma is a complex nation and its complexities are compounded by the fact that people expect us to overcome all these challenges in the shortest time as possible. I must remind you that our government has not been in power for even 18 months," she added.
Suu Kyi added that the majority of the Rohingya villages have not been affected by violence, adding that the military, which was accused of arson and indiscriminate killing, has been instructed to exercise restraint and avoid "collateral damage."
She also said that she was "deeply concerned" about the suffering of people caught up in the conflict.
"We are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh," she said, adding, "We want to find out why this exodus is happening."
Suu Kyi further said that an action would be taken against anyone, who goes against the law of the land or violates human rights, 'regardless of race or political position.'