Aung San Suu Kyi Refuses to Take Sides in Burma Ethnic Violence

Posted November 4th, 2012 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has urged tolerance in response to a wave of ethnic violence in the west of the country, but says she will not take sides.

In an interview with the BBC Saturday, the Nobel Peace laureate said she does “not think one should use one's moral leadership” to promote a particular cause without looking into the sources of the problem.

She says advocates of both sides are displeased with her, but says the rule of law should be established as a first step before looking into other problems.

Aung San Suu Kyi spoke in the administrative capital of Naypyidaw after talks with European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso, who has said the European Union is deeply concerned about the ethnic violence and the consequences for Burma's reforms.

The U.N. chief in Rangoon, Ashok Nigam, said a week ago that more than 22,000 people had been displaced in a week of violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said that the fighting has disproportionately targeted Muslims.

Some rights groups say the Burmese military, which has a long history of abusing minorities, unfairly targeted Muslims during the unrest. Burma's government denies the charges.