Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Australia AG rejects lawyers' bid to prosecute Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Australia AG rejects lawyers' bid to prosecute Myanmar's Suu Kyi

She was welcomed to Parliament House in Canberra with a 19-gun salute on Monday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and senior representatives from the government and opposition in attendance.

"Because of the suffering of Rohingya people and that of displacement around the region, the situation in Rakhine state and Myanmar can no longer be considered to be a purely domestic matter", Najib said as Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi looked on. Attorney General Christian Porter said Suu Kyi can not be prosecuted in Australia, nor arrested or detained.

More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh since August, when the military responded to insurgent attacks on police with a clearance operation that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing. Bangladesh and Myanmar have reached a deal to begin the repatriation of Rohingya, but there has been little progress.

Myanmar staunchly denies that its security forces have targeted civilians in Rakhine state.

Militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had instigated the violence with attacks on government forces in October 2016 and August 2017, said Zaw Htay, director general at the State Counselor's Office in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw.

Australia's PM Malcolm Turnbull walks behind Myanmar's State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Sydney, Australia, March 17, 2018.

"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.

Walkout Highlights Impact Of Gun Violence On Youth
Students gave out note cards with the names of gun violence victims, lit a yahrzeit candle and prayed for the families of victims. They lamented that too many young people have died and that they're exhausted of going to school afraid they will be killed.

Porter said he would not allow the prosecution of Suu Kyi, who arrived in Sydney on Saturday for regional talks, citing diplomatic immunity provisions, which protect foreign heads of state from being arrested, detained or served with court proceedings.

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

Turnbull did not tell reporters whether Suu Kyi gave details of what support she was seeking or whether she spoke specifically about violence against the Rohingya, however ASEAN's Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance has been providing some aid since October.

Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which is recognised in Australia, courts can try individuals suspected of crimes against humanity or war crimes regardless of where they were alleged to have been committed, although it requires the permission of the attorney general.

Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly personally addressed Myanmar's ongoing Rohingya crisis at a closed-door meeting of southeast Asian leaders, asking for help from Asean nations with humanitarian relief and Myanmar's capacity to recover from the conflict, according to a report in The Guardian.

Australia's prime minister said Southeast Asian leaders were using their meeting Sunday to discuss the "deadly threat" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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