A Myanmar beauty queen has been stripped of her title after accusing Rohingya Muslims of being ‘harbingers of terror and violence’ in the ongoing conflict in the Rakhine state.
Shwe Eain Si, 19, who was Miss Grand Myanmar, posted a video on Facebook last week describing the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army a ‘caliphate-style movement’ and said she was using her fame to ‘speak out the truth’.
Speaking in English, Miss Eain Si said ARSA, branded a terrorist organisation by Myanmar authorities, was ‘acting as if they are the oppressed’ and said its recent attacks were ‘out of proportion’.
The beauty queen, pictured, described Rohingya Muslims behind recent attacks on Myanmar government forces as a ‘caliphate-style movement’
The beauty queen has since disputed the claims of the competition’s organisers and said ‘none of their accusations were serious enough to dethrone her’ in a Facebook post.
More than half a million Rohingya have fled from the Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine State to Bangladesh after it was launched in late August.
The campaign has been denounced by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing.
But Myanmar denies this, saying it is fighting Rohingya terrorists who have claimed responsibility for attacks on its security forces.
The government has said anyone verified as a refugee will be allowed to return under a process set up with Bangladesh in 1993.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Monday to work on a repatriation plan, and a Myanmar government spokesman confirmed it would go along with it, provided people could verify their status with paperwork.
Myanmar’s government spokesman said under the 1993 deal even a hospital record was enough to prove residency, but it was only Myanmar, not Bangladesh, that could verify citizenship.
‘We have a policy for the repatriation process and we will go along with that,’ the spokesman, Zaw Htay, told Reuters
But many refugees are wary about returning without an assurance of full citizenship, which they say ‘could leave them vulnerable to persecution’.
Last week Myanmar troops uncovered the bodies of 45 Hindu villagers and accused Rohingya Muslims of carrying out a massacre.
Government forces said they discovered mass graves in Rakhine state containing skeletal remains, including of women and children.
Army chiefs said the villagers were killed by the militants who also attacked police outposts