The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination in Myanmar, which considers them to be illegal and problematic migrants from Bangladesh.

The latest crisis erupted when a brutal military crackdown was launched in response to a Rohingya militant group attacking several police posts.

In August, a UN report said top military figures in Myanmar must be investigated for genocide in Rakhine state and crimes against humanity in other areas.

The report describes the army's response - including murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery, persecution and enslavement - as "grossly disproportionate to actual security threats

Ms Suu Kyi has not criticised the powerful military but on Thursday admitted that, in hindsight, "the situation could have been handled better" by her government.

"But we believe that for the sake of long-term stability and security we have to be fair to all sides," she said. "We cannot choose and pick who should be protected by the rule of law."