STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A United Nations probe into alleged human rights abuses by Myanmar’s military against the minority Rohingya people last year would inflame ethnic tensions, the country’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Monday.
Last month, the U.N. appointed experts to lead a fact-finding mission to investigate widespread allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority who have faced discrimination in largely Buddhist Myanmar for generations.
Myanmar has rejected the mission.
“It would have created greater hostility between the different communities,” Suu Kyi told reporters in Stockholm after a meeting with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
“We did not feel it was in keeping with the needs of the region in which we are trying to establish harmony and understanding, and to remove the fears that have kept the two communities apart for so long.”
The 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has said she would only accept recommendations from a separate advisory commission led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.
“I think we should really give the commission a chance to show whether or not they have done their work properly instead of condemning from the beginning,” she said.
A U.N. report in February said Myanmar’s security forces had committed mass killings and gang rapes in a campaign that “very likely” amounted to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.
The report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was based on extensive interviews with Rohingya survivors in Bangladesh.
About 75,000 Rohingya fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh to escape a military crackdown last year launched after nine policemen were killed in attacks that Myanmar blamed on Rohingya militants.
More than 200,000 Rohingya had already fled to Bangladesh, many living in official and makeshift camps, straining resources in one of Asia’s poorest regions.
Reporting by Simon Johnson; Additional reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Tom Heneghan