Nobel Winner Blasts 'Misinformation' About Rohingya Situation

Aung San Suu Kyi says people in Rakhine are being protected
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2017 10:05 AM CDT
Nobel Winner Blasts 'Misinformation' About Rohingya Situation
A Muslim protester holds up a poster during a rally against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims outside the Myanmar's Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Harsh criticism against Myanmar's de-facto leader in light of a violent campaign against a Muslim minority is unfounded, says Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement released by her office Wednesday, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate blamed "terrorists" for "a huge iceberg of misinformation" about violence targeting Rohingya people, at least 146,000 of whom have fled Myanmar's Rakhine State in the past two weeks, per the Guardian. Though UN officials and Rohingya who reached safety in Bangladesh have described up to 1,000 people killed by security forces—satellite images also show a whole community razed, per Human Rights Watch—Suu Kyi says the government is "defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible."

Suu Kyi also says "fake news photographs" purporting to show dead bodies were taken outside Myanmar. A photo tweeted by Turkey's deputy prime minister did indeed show a scene from the Rwandan genocide of 1994, per the BBC, but a correspondent says much of the misinformation spreading can be attributed to the Myanmar government's decision to bar journalists from conflict zones. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called what's happening in Myanmar "genocide.") The government may also be trying to ensure Rohingya who've escaped the country don't return, reports Reuters. Its sources in Bangladesh say that landmines have been placed along Myanmar's western border, where a boy lost his leg in a mine blast on Tuesday. A military official in Myanmar, however, says the mines have been in place for decades. (Read more Myanmar stories.)

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