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LONDON (Reuters) – Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Muslim minority, speaking to the BBC after the UN rights council agreed to investigate allegations against the army.
“I don’t think there is ethnic cleansing going on. I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening,” Suu Kyi said in the interview televised on Wednesday.
Her one-year-old government has faced international condemnation for the treatment of the country’s Rohingya Muslims, who are regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, prompting the UN rights council to agree last month to launch an investigation into violations against the minority.
The Geneva-based body’s fact-finding mission will examine allegations of torture, murder and rape allegedly committed by troops.
Suu Kyi told the BBC there was “a lot of hostility” in the western state of Rakhine, where more than one million Rohingya live.
“It is Muslims killing Muslims, as well, if they think they are collaborating with authorities. “It is not just a matter of ethnic cleansing. It is a matter of people on different sides of a divide, and this divide we are trying to close up. As best as possible and not to widen it further,” she said.