Sept. 6 (UPI) — Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi condemned international coverage of the migrant crisis in the country’s Rakhine state, likening reports of atrocities to fake news or “misinformation.”
Suu Kyi, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, reportedly told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “huge iceberg of misinformation” is obscuring the truth about what is taking place among Myanmar’s Muslim minority, according to the BBC.
The statement from Suu Kyi’s office comes as more people, including human rights activists, are calling on the de facto leader of Myanmar to return her Nobel prize.
The latest round of violence began Aug. 25, when armed Rohingya militants attacked state police posts, resulting in a military retaliation.
Armed Buddhist civilians and security forces then burned entire Rohingya villages and fired on residents, forcing many Muslim families to flee to safety, across the border to Bangladesh.
State officials, including Myanmar’s border security minister, said the destruction of villages was part of the militants’ strategy.
Suu Kyi has so far admitted to problems in Rakhine state, but dismissed reports of ethnic cleansing, according to the BBC.
She has also said there are fake news photographs of violence that are being passed around with the “aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists.”
Critics say the government is partly to blame, because reporters are being banned from accessing conflict zones.
“If they allowed the U.N. or human rights bodies to go to the place to find out what is happening then this misinformation is not going to take place,” said BBC Burmese Service’s Tin Htar Swe.
Suu Kyi’s office has previously described an account of sexual assault, provided by a Rohingya woman, as “fake rape” on a government-run Facebook page, according to The Guardian.
The United Nations has described the Rohingya as the world’s most persecuted minority.