Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Myanmar's Suu Kyi welcomed to Australian amid protests

Activists stage protest in Sydney against Myanmar leader’s visit Myanmar's Suu Kyi welcomed to Australian amid protests
Melissa Porter | 19 March, 2018, 15:47

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's was feted in Australia on Monday with a military honour guard and 19-gun salute as part of a state visit that has provoked protests over her response to her country's violent campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Her appearance, which was being hosted by the Lowy Institute, was set to be Ms Suu Kyi's only public speaking arrangement while in Australia for the ASEAN summit.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Christian Porter has ruled out a bid by Melbourne lawyers to prosecute Ms Suu Kyi on crimes against humanity.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's spokesman, Zaw Htay, was not immediately available for comment on Turnbull's comments.

Many in Myanmar refer to the Rohingya as Bengalis and insist they are immigrants from Bangladesh.

"All of this happened because of ARSA".

"Shutting one's eyes and hoping that closer trade and security ties will somehow magically transform abusive governments into rights-respecting ones doesn't work", she said.

"Those who are putting pressure like this need to be careful that doesn't become encouraging terrorists".

U.N. officials say almost 700,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh after militant attacks on August 25 previous year sparked a crackdown, led by security forces, in Rakhine state that the United Nations and United States have said constitutes ethnic cleansing. Picture taken March 17, 2018.

Myanmar denies the charges and has asked for "clear evidence" of abuses by security forces.

"This afternoon the Lowy Institute was informed by the Myanmar embassy that the state counsellor will no longer be able to participate in this event as she is not feeling well", a spokeswoman for the think-tank said in a statement.

"Aung San Suu Kyi has complete immunity, including from being served with court documents, because under customary worldwide law, heads of state, heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs are immune from foreign criminal proceedings and are inviolable", Porter told Reuters by email.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Friday said that human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State would be raised with the Burmese delegation.

Suu Kyi broke her silence about the Rohingya crisis in a televised address in September, saying her country wasn't "afraid of global scrutiny".

The legal action coincided with the start of Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Sydney.

University of Sydney and University of Technology awarded Ms Suu Kyi with honorary doctorate degrees.

Neither Suu Kyi nor Turnbull made public remarks before their meeting, but the Australian leader said on Sunday that Suu Kyi spoke "at considerable length" during the ASEAN meeting about Rakhine State, appealing to her Southeast Asian neighbours for humanitarian help.