TOKYO: ARAB NEWS
Published — Thursday 18 April 2013
Last update 20 April 2013 6:35 am
Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has lamented restrictions and estrangement of Muslims,
Addressing a press conference in Tokyo, she called for reforming citizenship laws to help the sizable minority to feel more secure in the Buddhist country.
Her comments came as activists express disappointment that Suu Ky has remained largely silent about several episodes of communal bloodshed.
The Rohingya have been described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.
Suu Kyi said she has met with Muslim leaders and felt for their plight. "It's very sad because none of them had ever known any other country except for this one, except for Burma," she said.
"They did not feel they belonged anywhere else and you are just sad for them that they are made to feel they did not belong to our country either. This is a very sad state of affairs." But, she said: "With regard to whether or not Rohingya are citizens of the country, that depends very much on whether or not they meet the requirements of the citizenship law as they now exist.
"Then we must go on and assess this citizenship law to find out whether it is in line with the international standard," she said, stressing the importance of rule of law.
"We must learn to accommodate those with different views from ours," she said.
Chris Lewa, the Bangkok-based director of The Arakan Project, a non-governmental organisation that lobbies for the rights of the Rohingya told AFP that many Muslims in Myanmar were disappointed Suu Kyi had not been more forthright in their defense.
"People like Aung San Suu Kyi who have moral authority in Myanmar should be clearer about the rights of minorities," she said.