Desmond Tutu speaks out on Rakhine crisis

Pic Reuters

She received the award in 1991 for "her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights" while standing up against military rulers. Now, she's becoming the face of a genocide. And we knew too little of Aung San Suu Kyi herself.

As worldwide controversy rages over the crackdown - and Ms Suu Kyi's defence of her government's actions - a number of Dublin councillors have called for her freedom of Dublin City award to be revoked. In 2016, about 85,000 Rohingya poured into Bangladesh, fleeing rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar security forces.

Myanmar's powerful military, the Tatmadaw, would continue to hold a quarter of all seats in parliament, with the generals retaining control of key ministries including home affairs, defense and borders. The law then stated that the only those who arrived in Myanmar before 1823 would be recognised as citizens of the country. "It goes back to pre-colonial times", she argued. The Arakan state was an expanse of forests and hills. So they have been permanent residents of the country from then. There are many more in other parts of the region and the world. "We also have expectations concerning the Myanmar government".

Rohingya refugees pose a serious moral dilemma for India.

"They are in a desperate, absolutely desperate humanitarian state, without enough to eat". To spare the Rohingyas further suffering, such sanctions should be deployed again. It is time for Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the United Nations alike to build pressure and force the worldwide system to act. This comprised outside experts as well as representatives of the Myanmar government.

Aung San Suu Kyi's political party won the election in November 2015, but instead of a decrease in the state violence against the Rohingya, we have witnessed an increase.

According to the union government, 63 ethnic Rakhines and security personnel were killed and 37 have gone missing since October 2016. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for the attack. In addition to building 30 new security posts in the area since 2016, authorities had been steadily ramping up force presence to conduct frequent "clearance operations" in the Mayu hill tracts between Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships to weed out suspected militant training camps, some of which were uncovered around 21 June. The global media termed this as "operation cleansing".

"In addition, in March 2017 Switzerland, together with other countries, supported the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council which demanded Myanmar end this discrimination".

We see sheer panic in the eyes of the Rohigyas fleeing from Myanmar, crossing the river Naaf and barbed wire fences to enter Bangladesh. "They are hungry, weak and sick". So where are the youth?

This sting of crisis and realpolitik was all too much for certain members of the Suu Kyi fan club. It was apparent that the regime saw they needed rapid economic growth to escape the sanctions imposed by western governments.

In Washington, Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin have introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the violence and calling on Ms Suu Kyi to work to halt it.

We did not calculate that the stubbornness which refused to concede to the military junta might, if she came to power, prove equally forceful when confronted with foreign criticism. Now, since August, 120,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar.

If it were any other religion or ethnicity being targeted, would Suu Kyi's laurels be safe?

However, she has come in for increasing criticism in recent weeks as worldwide concern mounts over the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

For shame, Ms Suu Kyi. Rohingyas are tormented both on account of their language (in fact, in Myanmar they are referred to as Bengalis) as also their Islamic faith. How is the Nobel Laureate so cruel?

And her own silence has been deeply intriguing. Protests organised in Muslim regional powers are already pressing for the cutting of ties with Myanmar. Over the past two weeks around 200,000 Rohigyas have entered Bangladesh. Not that they ever cared to try. Even the makeshift shelters they construct were being destroyed.

Her Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo on June 16, 2012 was described as the "most remarkable in the entire history of Nobel Prizes".

Sohrab Hassan is a poet and journalist.


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