MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar’s government looks as if it’s under siege from an international community concerned about the condition of its nascent democracy, with widespread calls for a genocide tribunal to hold its military to account for the brutal treatment of its Muslim Rohingya minority.
But experts say not to expect any change of course from the country’s leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, even after a fresh round of withering criticism from abroad following Monday’s show-trial conviction of two Reuters reporters who helped expose extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya men and boys.
Suu Kyi’s motivations are opaque. Even as a revered pro-democracy activist, the Nobel Peace laureate had a reputation for being autocratic, but now her core ideology has come into question.
There is at least a loose consensus that she faces real restrictions on her actions due to the power retained by the military that is enshrined in the constitution it imposed in 2007.
“Aung San Suu Kyi has tried to balance her delicate and antagonistic relationship with the military and her conception of society’s needs, perhaps fearing too strident a stance could prompt an overt return to military rule, which is possible under the constitution in certain circumstances,” David Steinberg, professor emeritus at Georgetown University, wrote in July in the online magazine The Diplomat.
Other observers are less generous, saying Suu Kyi’s seeming impassivity toward the plight of the Rohingya – and hostility toward those wishing to address the issue – undercut the narrative pitting her against the military.
“People tended to think that Aung San Suu Kyi and the military were at odds, and each feared that the other would dislodge them from power,” said Khin Zaw Win, a rare outspoken critic of the government who directs the Tampadipa Institute, a Yangon-based capacity-building institution.
He said the conviction of the two Reuters journalists, who were sentenced to seven years in prison, is a reminder that “shows that what they fear in tandem is the world out there finding the truth and seeking to unseat them.”
The old saying, “They have to hang together, or they hang separately,” describes their situation, he said.
Political realities inside and outside Myanmar suggest there is neither the will nor a way to ensure justice for the Rohingya, 700,000 of whom fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by the army. Myanmar denies any large-scale human rights violations and says its actions were a response to surprise attacks by militants in August last year that killed a dozen members of the security forces. Critics charge it was ethnic cleansing. Source- News Agency.