Bangladesh needs to take necessary steps to establish trust: Suu Kyi

09 Jun 2018, 13:17 | updated: 09 Jun 2018, 13:19

NTV Online

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently sat down for her first one-on-one interview with NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organisation.

In the interview, Aung San Suu Kyi said deep-rooted anti-Rohingya sentiment cannot be resolved overnight. She also talked about voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

In response to the reporter’s question — how will Myanmar restore trust with the refugees and also with the international community? —Suu Kyi said: ‘Trust is a 2-way business. I don’t think it’s just up to just Myanmar to establish trust. I think the other side also has to take necessary steps in order to establish trust. For example, we understand that the forms that are required to fill in in accordance with the MoU agreed between Myanmar and Bangladesh have not been distributed widely to the refugees. Unless these forms been distributed and unless the refugees know that there’s a legal and safe way for them to return to Rakhine. Then we will not be able to make quick progress. So I think, it’s a 2-way process. MoU is agreed to by 2 or more parties, and it’s competent on all parties involved to implement their responsibilities.’

Claiming Myanmar has carried out all necessary responsibilities in line with the MoU, Suu Kyi said: ‘We have carried out all our responsibilities in line with the MoU. If you study the MoU, if you look at what we’ve been doing, I think you’ll find that we have carried out all our responsibilities. But trust is not something that you can create just by signing a piece of paper and it’s the people who have to take a risk on whether or not the situation is trustworthy. If you’re not prepared to try out a situation, you can never tell for sure whether it’s acceptable or not.’

The Nobel Peace laureate has been under fire for not speaking out about one of the world’s biggest refugee crises. An estimated 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since last August, reports

The United Nations has called the military offensive against the minority group a textbook case of ethnic cleansing. Aung San Suu Kyi says she cannot fully respond to the international community’s criticism.

‘Very few people outside of Myanmar and even very few people in Myanmar are aware of all the historical issues that are involved. So, it’s not just for the world outside.

It’s also for our people inside the country to understand what’s going on and why we take the steps that we take. It’s most important that our people should understand. Because we are the one who must in the long run preserve the stability and security of our country.’

On Wednesday, Myanmar and UN agencies signed a memorandum of understanding on the repatriation of the Rohingya.

‘We have carried out all our responsibilities in line with the MoU. If you study the MoU, if you look at what we’ve been doing, I think you’ll find that we have called out all our responsibilities.’

Aung San Suu Kyi defended her country against criticism that it isn’t protecting the rights of the Rohingya.

She says the Myanmar government investigates all alleged violations of human rights. She said the government will proceed with the repatriation with UN support to settle the issue.

On the subject of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi said the military’s influence is still strong. A quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for its generals.

‘It’s and added dimensions to the challenges that we have to face. And that’s quite normal. Because as you said and I have explained, we are not a wholly democratic society yet. Because our constitution is not wholly democratic.’