- Jul 2011
More: Aung San Suu Kyi won a Nobel for fighting repression. Now she's accused of genocideHO CHI MINH CITY — Myanmar’s iconic Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is under siege from critics around the world who say the pro-democracy Peace Prize winner is guilty of the very repression she spent decades combating.
The de facto leader of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, fought back Tuesday by calling reports of genocide against the country's Rohingya minority in Rakhine state “fake news” and the “tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation.”
Her comments during a phone call with Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan, are Suu Kyi's first statements about the violence that erupted in northwestern Rakhine State on Aug. 25.
The Rohingya are stateless Muslims in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country that has long been hostile to their presence. There are an estimated 1 million Rohgingya living in Myanmar, where they are not recognized by the government as an official group and are denied citizenship..
According to the United Nations, nearly 125,000 Rohingya have fled in recent weeks to neighboring Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim nation, to escape a military crackdown and vigilante attacks that have burned villages and killed hundreds.
The latest round of violence erupted when a group of Rohingya militants attacked police outposts and a military base, killing a dozen officers. The military responded with coordinated attacks and widespread arson, according to numerous accounts from fleeing civilians.
Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights organization, has analyzed satellite data from Rakhine state that it says shows the burning of several villages.
Suu Kyi’s comments were posted in a readout of a call on the Facebook page of the office of Myanmar's state counselor, her official title. She said "fake" news and photographs of the crisis in Rakhine state were being used to promote the interest of “terrorists.”
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