Pence decries violence against Rohingya in open remarks to Suu Kyi

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized Myanmar’s army for the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in a gathering with the nation’s chief Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday, and stated he was eager to hear that these liable for the violence could be held accountable.

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence maintain a bilateral assembly in Singapore, November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

“The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse,” he instructed Suu Kyi in a quick assembly with the media earlier than they went into non-public talks on the sidelines of a Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore.

“I am anxious to hear the progress that you are making of holding those accountable who are responsible for the violence that displaced so many hundreds of thousands and created such suffering, including the loss of life,” he added.

He stated Washington was additionally eager to hear about progress in making it attainable for the Rohingya to voluntarily return to the western Myanmar state of Rakhine from huge refugees camps in southern Bangladesh the place they now reside.

The United States has accused the army of ethnic cleaning against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority who’re broadly reviled in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. U.N.-mandated investigators have accused the army of unleashing a marketing campaign of killings, rape and arson with “genocidal intent”.


Myanmar says its operations in Rakhine had been a professional response to assaults on safety forces by Rohingya insurgents in August final yr.

Suu Kyi, responding to Pence, stated: “Of course people have different points of view but the point is that you should exchange these views and try to understand each other better.”

“In a way we can say that we understand our country better than any other country does and I’m sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your country better than anybody else,” she added.

Amnesty International this week withdrew its most prestigious human rights prize from Suu Kyi, accusing her of perpetuating human rights abuses by not talking out about violence against the Rohingya.

Once hailed as a champion in the battle for democracy, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been stripped of a collection of worldwide honors over the Rohingya exodus.

Pence additionally stated that Washington needed to see a free and democratic press in Myanmar, and the jailing of two journalists final yr was “deeply troubling” for tens of millions of Americans.

“In America, we believe in our democratic institutions and ideals, including a free and independent press,” he stated.

He didn’t point out by title Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who had been arrested in Yangon in December 2017. They had been discovered responsible in September of breaching the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in jail.

On Nov. 5, attorneys for the 2 Reuters reporters lodged an enchantment against their conviction.

At the time of their arrest in December, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had been engaged on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim villagers throughout a military crackdown in Rakhine state. Reuters revealed its investigation into the bloodbath on Feb. eight.

Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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