Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi: Fake news is helping Rohingya terrorists
Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is claiming her country is protecting everyone in the Rakhine state where more than 123,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled in the past two weeks.
In her first comments since the crisis began on August 25, Suu Kyi criticised a 'huge iceberg of misinformation' supporting terrorists in the conflict.
The remarks, in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, comes as international pressure mounts on Myanmar protect the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who are being denied aid and forced from their homes.
British MPs urged ministers to act, accusing Suu Kyi's army of 'ethnic cleansing'.
Labour's Yasmin Qureshi, who raised the issue said she was 'a little bit disappointed' by foreign office minister Mark Field's response after he said the government had 'strongly urged the security forces in Rakhine to show restraint' and had called for humanitarian aid 'to reach those in need as soon as possible'.
Qureshi said: 'In the last number of years, there's been a systematic rape and murder and burning and beheading of people of the Rohingya community.'
She asked the minister: 'Will you actually condemn this campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims?
'This is one of the worst examples of violence in decades, yet the international community is effectively remaining silent as we watch another Srebrenica and Rwanda unfold before our eyes. This situation requires urgent intervention.'
Considered the most persecuted group in the world, the Rohingya are a stateless minority who are denied citizenship despite their longstanding roots in the area.
Field said the UK is the largest single bilateral donor in Bangladesh and one of the biggest to Myanmar and the Rakhine state, providing £30m in assistance on food and sanitation for more than 126,000 people over the last five years.
Accusations continue to be levelled at the Myanmar military with Bangladeshi government sources telling Reuters they believe fresh landmines are being laid along the border despite the surge of refugees desperately trying to cross it.
The Myanmar government has not responded to the allegations. Suu Kyi's spokesman Zaw Htay did not deny the presence of landmines but questioned who had placed the explosives.
'Who can surely say those mines were not laid by the terrorists?' he asked Reuters.