Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke at the International Labor Organization, a UN agency, on Thursday, saying that rule of law was essential to preventing communal riots such as the ones that have rocked her country in recent days, according to CNN.
Suu Kyi expressed concern about the ethnic and religious violence in Myanmar, also known as Burma, after clashes in recent weeks between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the state of Rakhine left many dead and homeless.
"We have said again and again rule of law is essential. ... Without rule of law, such communal strife will only continue," she said, according to CNN.
"The present situation will have to be handled with delicacy and sensitivity and we need the cooperation of all people concerned to rebuild the peace that we want for our country," she added, Reuters reported.
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On Friday, Suu Kyi will collect the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded 21 years ago and was unable to collect due to being placed under house arrest. The head of the Nobel committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, said that it promises to be "one of the most historic events in Nobel Peace Prize history," according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, boatloads of Rohingya refugees were turned back by Bangladesh after fleeing from the ethnic violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, said the Associated Press.
The violence which has wracked the state spiraled from a single incident where a Buddhist Rakhine woman was allegedly raped and murdered by Rohingya Muslim men last month, and in the last few days the cycle of retribution has lead to over 20 dead, thousands displaced and 1,500 homes burned.
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President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Rakhine and relative calm has been restored, but residents now complain of food shortages, according to Bloomberg. Fears of violence stopped bus and ferry deliveries from Yangon to Sittwe, the state's capital, driving food prices up.
Human Rights Watch Refugee Program director Bill Frelick said in a statement, "Bangladesh has an obligation under international law to keep its border open to people fleeing threats to their lives and provide them protection."
The Rohingyas are a stateless ethnic group, whom Myanmar considers illegal immigrants and whom Bangladesh insists should be counted as Burmese citizens.
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