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Myanmar's first civilian leader addresses UN in over 50 years

Suu Kyi appointed former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to chair a commission which will look into the situation of the Rohingya Muslims. Photograph: (Getty)

WION New York, United States Sep 22, 2016, 04.24 AM (IST)
Myanmar's state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Wednesday became country's first civilian leader in over five decades to address the UN General Assembly. 

Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi, without referring to the Rohingyas by name, spoke about the situation in Rakhine state where tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are living in poor conditions in makeshift camps. The persecution of the minority community has drawn world's attention. 

Suu Kyi,who has been criticised for ignoring the plight of the Rohingyas, defended her government by saying that Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny. 

"We are committed to a sustainable solution that will lead to peace, stability and development for all communities within the state. Our government is taking a holistic approach that makes development central to both short and long-term programmes aimed at promoting understanding and trust." 

She also pointed out that she had appointed former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to chair a commission which will look into the issue. 

Suu Kyi also insisted, according to international news agency Reuters, that her government faced "persistent opposition from some quarters" to the establishment of the commission. 

"By standing firm against the forces of prejudice and intolerance, we are reaffirming our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person," she added. 

She also spoke on the issue of migration, saying lack of peace and development forced people to migrate. And terrorism is also born out of lack of social and economic security which forces youths to be enamored by ideologies which promise security. 

 "We also need to consider the possibility that lack of purpose, of a sense of direction in life, could also be a force that drives many, especially the young into the snare of ideologies that appear to offer certainty."

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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