Deafening silence of Aung San Suu Kyi

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ASEAN summit

MNA Editorial Desk: In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that it wished “to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means”.

26 years later, the Rohingyas as well as many people around the world would disagree with the trusting assessment of the committee.

Expectations from Suu Kyi to take a firm stand on the Rohingya situation increased when on October 9, 2016, in an attack similar to August 25, 2017, militants believed to be Rohingyas attacked border posts – killing nine policemen.

The crisis along the Burma-Bangladesh border has dramatically intensified over the past week, with more than 125,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing a Burmese military offensive in restive Rakhine state, according to aid organizations.

A growing chorus of Muslim leaders around the world has condemned Burma’s actions, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dubbed a “genocide.”

Yet Suu Kyi has remained silent about the reported atrocities, even as world leaders and the representatives of international organizations have issued a flurry of statements.

Suu Kyi has also not lifted the state’s severe restrictions on humanitarian access to various regions of Burma affected by insurgency. Neither have authorities allowed independent news media to thoroughly investigate what is happening in Rakhine.

Suu Kyi has been accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution, and some have called for the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991 as a champion of democracy to be revoked.