Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sept. 30 for “constructive support” in resolving the crisis in the nation’s religiously divided Rakhine State, reports RFA.
“We are working to build understanding, harmony and trust between communities while standing firm against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism,” Suu Kyi told ASEAN members at the body’s Inter-Parliamentary Assembly which met Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw.
“In doing so, we ask for the constructive support of our regional neighbors,” Suu Kyi said.
“Progress in every field will not be possible overnight, but we are determined to persevere to bring about positive change in Rakhine State as in other areas of our country affected by conflict,” she said.
Rakhine is home to 1.1 million stateless Rohingya Muslims who Myanmar’s majority Buddhists refer to as “Bengali” implying that they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
The Rohingya people have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement, health care and education since 2012 violence erupted between them and the Rakhine Buddhists that left scores dead.
More than 120,000 Rohingya still remain in squalid camps in apartheid-like condition
Suu Kyi’s government has established an advisory commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who visited the country last month. The commission was tasked with finding a solution to religious strife in Rakhine.
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