UNITED NATIONS – Former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi made her first speech Wednesday at the U.N. General Assembly since forming a democratically elected government and called for international understanding as Myanmar grapples with sectarian tensions.
Suu Kyi said the new government was "standing firm against the forces of prejudice and intolerance" in troubled Rakhine state, where longstanding discrimination by majority Buddhists against Muslim Rohingya exploded into bloody violence in 2012. More than 100,000 people, mostly Rohingyas, are still in displacement camps.
"Over the last few years, the world has focused its attention on the situation in the Rakhine State. As a responsible member of the community of nations, we do not fear international scrutiny. We are committed to a sustainable solution that will lead to peace, stability and development for all communities within the state," Suu Kyi said.
Suu Kyi did not mention Rohingya by name in her speech. It's a contentious issue among Buddhists in Rakhine, who consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and customarily call them "Bengali."
Her appearance at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations is the latest landmark in a personal and national transformation as the country also known as Burma emerges from five decades of military rule.