Aung San Suu Kyi to skip this year's UN General Assembly

The UN now says that more than 370,000 people have fled Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi to skip this year's UN General Assembly

Aung San Suu Kyi. Picture by: Aung Shine Oo/AP/Press Association Images

Aung San Suu Kyi - the de facto leader of Myanmar - will not attend this month's UN General Assembly.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has faced mounting international criticism over her response to the crisis facing Rohingya Muslims in her country's Rakhine state.

Police and army in Myanmar - also known as Burma - have launched a violent crackdown in the state following attacks by Rohingya insurgents on police posts last month.

It is claimed that thousands of people in Rakhine state have been killed or tortured by security forces in recent weeks, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein earlier this week claimed the current situation in Myanmar appears to be "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

Mrs Suu Kyi had been expected to attend this month's UN's General Assembly, a year after she travelled to the previous assembly and pledged to 'stand firm against the forces of prejudice and intolerance'.

However, she will now skip this year's event to try and deal with the situation in her country.

A spokesperson for Mrs Suu Kyi told Reuters: "She is trying to control the security situation, to have internal peace and stability, and to prevent the spread of communal conflict."

Mrs Suu Kyi's fellow Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai have been among the most high-profile international figures to criticise Mrs Suu Kyi's response to the Rohingya crisis.

She could also become the first person to be stripped of the freedom of Dublin city.

Meanwhile, the UN now estimates that around 370,000 people have crossed the Bangladeshi border over the last two and a half weeks.

Chris Lom, a spokesperson for the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said: "[There are] hundreds of people virtually camped out anywhere there is space. Any spare muddy piece of land or on hillside."

The UN has said $77 million is needed to aid refugees in the region over the next three months.