YANGON - Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday (Sept 19) condemned all human rights violations in the Rakhine state even as she said that her country does not fear international scrutiny on the Rohingya crisis.
In her first public comments on the Rohingya crisis, she said that anyone responsible for abuses in the Rakhine state would face the law.
Violence has torn through Rakhine state since Aug 25, leaving hundreds dead and driving more than 410,000 of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar into Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi said her government is committed to seeking a sustainable solution to the crisis and invited international agencies to visit the conflict-stricken Rakhine state.
She also said she "feels deeply" for the suffering of "all people" caught up in the conflict.
"We are concerned to hear the number of Muslims fleeing areas to Bangladesh," she added.
She reached out to the global community on Tuesday, urging outsiders to help her nation unite across religious and ethnic lines.
"Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world," she said in a speech to a gathering of diplomats and journalists in Naypyitaw.
"We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicity... we all have the right to our diverse identities."
Suu Kyi said on Tuesday that Myanmar stood ready "at any time" to verify the status of those who have fled to Bangladesh to aid the return of those eligible for resettlement.
"We are prepared to start the verification process at any time," she said, without guaranteeing a return for all of the refugees.
Myanmar has previously suggested it will not take back all who had fled across the border, accusing those refugees of having links to the Rohingya militants.
Any clear moves to block the refugees' return will likely anger Bangladesh which is struggling to deal with the sudden exodus of Rohingya Muslims into shanty towns and camps near the border.
The 72-year-old Noble laureate had come under intense criticism for staying silent on the military operations that have expelled about 400,000 Rohingya Muslims from their homes. The army, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing by the United Nations, said it was flushing out insurgents.
Suu Kyi said Myanmar is determined to implement the recommendations of a commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan to bring peace to the state.
Annan was appointed by Suu Kyi to head a year-long commission tasked with healing long-simmering divisions between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine, one of the poorest states in the country.
Suu Kyi's comments on Tuesday came as the UN General Assembly prepared to convene in New York, with the Rohingya crisis one of the most pressing topics.
Aids groups are struggling to provide relief to a daily stream of new arrivals, more than half of whom are children. The number also includes 70,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women, according to Bangladesh's information minister Hasanul Haq.