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The ruling National League for Democracy addressed the crisis in Rakhine State in a statement marking Independence Day on Thursday, with the party describing the situation in the country’s west as a “challenge to national sovereignty and dignity.”
The statement was read out by one of the party’s spokespeople, Monywa Aung Shin, during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of Burma’s independence yesterday.
“The Rakhine situation is a national cause and, similarly, the cause of the ethnic Rakhine is synonymous with that of the whole nation,” he said. “The situation in northern Rakhine State is a challenge to national sovereignty and dignity.”
Monywa Aung Shin continued, “Myanmar is not shaken by accusations and sanctions of the United Nations against her and responds to such acts with evidence of the truth and practical measures.”
The crisis in Rakhine State has proved to be the NLD’s biggest challenge on the international stage. Criticism of the government and security forces’ response to attacks by Rohingya militants on 25 August has come from the highest levels of the United Nations, as well as several Western countries.
More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August as Burmese security forces have carried out heavy-handed “clearance operations,” ostensibly as part of counterinsurgency efforts in the wake of the militants’ attacks.
The UN human rights chief has described the operations as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” amid numerous accounts of grave human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by government security forces, though Burma denies that any widespread misconduct has taken place.
Addressing the state of the nation more broadly, the NLD’s Independence Day message said measures to foster peaceful coexistence between different ethnic groups and rehabilitation efforts had restored Burma’s conflict-stricken areas to normalcy and further steered the country along the road toward development.
Thursday’s commemoration ceremony organised by the NLD was also attended by members of the 88 Generation, lawmakers and ambassadors.