Myanmar’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, spent nearly 15 years under house arrest for her human rights advocacy under a military regime.
However, now that her democratically-elected party is in power, she is rejected a United Nations probe into alleged human rights abuses against an ethnic minority at the hands of Myanmar’s military.
The U.N. human rights council agreed to send a dispatch to the South Asian country in March following allegations of abuses, including murder, rape and torture, against Rohingya Muslims by Burmese soldiers and police officers in Rakhine state. But Suu Kyi has rejected the decision.
Her reason: “We do not agree with it,” Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, told a press conference on Tuesday with EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini during a visit to Brussels, when asked about the investigation. “We have disassociated ourselves from the resolution because we do not think that the resolution is in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground.”
She added her government would be happy to accept recommendations that would be “in keeping with the real needs of the region ... But those recommendations which will divide further the two communities in Rakhine we will not accept, because it will not help to resolve the problems that are arising all the time”.
The statement is more than upsetting – and disappointing, coming from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Firstly, what is actually happening on the ground is difficult to know because Myanma security officials, according to Committee To Protect Journalists, has been obstructing and harassing reporters from covering crisis in Rakhine State. In fact, reporter Fiona MacGregor, formerly of the Myanmar Times newspaper, was reportedly “sacked after articles critical of security forces were said to have damaged its reputation.”
Secondly, despite being in power for almost two years, she hasn’t herself addressed the “real needs” of the embattled region. Rohingya Muslims are considered to be among the most persecuted minorities in the world. For years, Buddhist extremists in Buddhist-majority Myanmar have been trying to subjugate the community, which is not considered to be a part of Myanmar.
Rohingya Muslims have been murdered and driven away for years now – formerly under military regimes and now under Suu Kyi’s faux-democratic rule.
Since October, more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims may have been killed in a Myanmar army crackdown. Nearly 70,000 have fled to neighboring countries, according to U.N. officials. Several independent international human rights groups and journalists also found Myanmar’s military carried out a mass “rape campaign” against the ethnic community. In fact, the extent of targeted killings of Rohingya Muslims border on genocide.
However, far from resolving the issue, Suu Kyi has not shown the least bit of interest in addressing the plight of the minority. Worse, she banned the term “Rohingya” to appease Buddhist extremists who wield considerable power in the country’s politics.
So, if Suu Kyi herself won’t do anything and not even allow a U.N. probe, how does she plan to address the crisis? Also, if there’s nothing to hide, why block an international investigation?
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters