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Asia Suu Kyi's state visit to Australia prompts protests over her response to the Rohingya tragedy

MYANMAR leader Aung San Suu Kyi was welcomed to Australia today with a military honour guard and 19-gun salute as part of a state visit that has provoked protests over her response to her army’s violent campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Ms Suu Kyi arrived in Sydney at the weekend for a summit of south-east Asian leaders and her state visit officially began today when she was welcomed to Parliament House in Canberra. It coincides with her facing international criticism over what has become Asia’s worst refugee crisis in decades.

More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh since August when the military kicked off a campaign of ethnic cleansing justified by citing insurgent attacks on police.

Their violent campaign has included burning Rohingya villages, systematic rape, shootings and other human rights abuses.

Mr Turnbull said yesterday that Ms Suu Kyi had used the weekend summit to seek humanitarian help from her fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia to deal with the crisis.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the summit that the refugee crisis was no longer solely a domestic issue for Myanmar, as fleeing Rohingya could be prime targets for terrorist radicalisation.

Myanmar staunchly denies that its security forces have targeted Rohingya civilians.

But its denials have appeared increasingly tenuous as horrific accounts from refugees have accumulated and satellite imagery and other evidence of destroyed Rohingya villages have been assembled.

Human rights groups have criticised Australia for maintaining its limited military engagement with Myanmar. Australia provides English-language lessons and training courses to Myanmar officers to “promote professionalism and adherence to international laws,” according to the military.


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