Myanmar beauty queen 'dethroned over Rohingya video'

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Picture of Shwe Eain Si posted with her Facebook statement on 3 October 2017Image source, Shwe Eain Si
Image caption,
Shwe Eain Si was crowned Miss Grand Myanmar earlier this year

A Burmese beauty queen has claimed she was stripped of her pageant title over a video she made on the ongoing violence in Rakhine state.

Shwe Eain Si had posted the clip online last week, accusing Rohingya militants of perpetuating the unrest.

The 19-year-old lost her Miss Grand Myanmar title in recent days after the company which crowned her revoked it.

But the firm denied the video was the reason, saying it was because she breached contract rules.

The company, Hello Madam Media Group, announced on Sunday that Shwe Eain Si had been stripped of her title because she did not behave like a role model.

On Tuesday, the beauty queen drew a connection between her dethronement and her video clip.

"Yes, Shwe Eain Si made a video about the reign of terror brought about by the Arsa militants in Rakhine state, but that was hardly qualified as a failure to project a decent image of a pageant contestant," a statement posted on her Facebook page said, making reference to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

It added that she "is obliged as a citizen of this country to use her fame to speak out the truth for her nation".

But Hello Madam's director Soe Yu Wai later told the BBC that the decision "does not concern... her Rakhine video", and claim they stripped her of the title before the clip was published.

Shwe Eain Si came second at the Miss Universe Myanmar competition organised by Hello Madam last year, winning the title of Miss Grand Myanmar, and was due to represent her country at the Miss Grand International competition later this month.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
More than half a million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August

In the graphic video, posted on her Facebook page last week, the beauty queen says Arsa's "caliphate-style movement" attacks were "out of proportion".

Speaking in English, Shwe Eain Si accuses the militants and their supporters of conducting a media campaign "so that harbingers of terror and violence themselves [now seem] as if they are the oppressed".

Her video makes no mention of allegations that the Burmese military have carried out widespread atrocities against the Muslim Rohingya minority. The army, which has been accused of conducting ethnic cleansing, has said it is only targeting militants.

The latest outbreak of Rakhine violence began on 25 August when Arsa militants attacked security posts, triggering a military crackdown. More than 500,000 Rohingya have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Rakhine villagers and other minorities such as Hindus have also been affected by violence.

But correspondents say that the large wave of Rohingya migrants and their widespread claims of abuse at the hands of the military indicate their community has been disproportionately affected.

Shwe Eain Si is not the first beauty pageant winner to run into trouble in recent months.

In September the winner of Miss Turkey 2017 was stripped of her crown after it emerged she had shared a post referencing last year's coup attempt. Competition organisers said the tweet was "unacceptable".