Even though a United Nations rights investigator has accused Myanmar of discriminating against minorities by not allowing them to run or vote in the upcoming elections, it’s highly unlikely the situation will change anytime soon.
"The credibility of the elections will be judged by the environment in which they are conducted and the extent to which all sectors of Myanmar society have been allowed to freely participate in the political process," Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur on rights in Myanmar wrote in a report she presented to a U.N. General Assembly committee.
The November polls in Myanmar will be the first general election since a civilian government was introduced in 2011. And while they’re being touted as “landmark, historic” elections, they will most certainly not be free and fair or democratic because candidates belonging to the second-largest religious population in the country, the Muslims, are deliberately being sidelined.
Myanmar is a Buddhist majority nation. Extremist Buddhists under the leadership of the Burmese "Buddhist Bin Laden" Ashin Wirathu have not only committed well-documented atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, but also have created problems for the Muslim community in general.
The situation keeps deteriorating because of the criminal indifference shown by President Thein Sein, who allegedly doesn’t want to upset hardline Buddhists.
But even worse — and disappointing — is the deafening silence from Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent 15 years under house arrest for her pro-democracy activism.
Despite being known and awarded for her advocacy of human rights, she has been criminally silent over the genocidal campaign against the Rohingya community that has caused hundreds of deaths and displaced more than 140,000 members in almost three years.
The fact that even Suu Kyi has also allegedly sidelined Muslim candidates in the upcoming polls is proof of the discrimination the minority is currently facing.
It’s not the first time Yanghee Lee has highlighted injustices against Muslims in Myanmar.
Earlier in January, Wirathu insulted her for speaking up for Rohingya’s legal rights by calling her a “b****” and “w****.”
He wasn’t held accountable by neither the president not Suu Kyi for his abusive language despite international criticism.
And that’s exactly what’s going to happen this time.
As long as extremists Buddhists are actively lobbying against minorities, Myanmar’s elections will not be more inclusive – no matter what the U.N. says.