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International community slams Suu Kyi over Myanmar's 'genocide'

International community slams Suu Kyi over Myanmar's 'genocide'

Posted September. 15, 2017 07:45,   

Updated September. 15, 2017 08:06

“You symbolised righteousness. If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”

It was a letter written on the Facebook wall of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu of the South Africa who sent his message to the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Kyi. The letter was intended to criticize Aung San Kyi who is turning a blind eye on the de facto “ethnic cleansing” of Myanmar army against the members of the Rohingya tribe amid heightening voices from the international community.

Since the ruthless punitive operations committed by the Burmese government forces on Aug. 25, around 400,000 Islamic minority Rohingya residents residing at the Buddhist nation Myanmar crossed the borders near Bangladesh. The number is estimated to be one third of the total of 1.2 million members of the Rohingya tribe who risked their lives and escaped abroad. According to the British media outlet Guardian, 176 out of the total of 471 villages are now empty and at least 34 others partially abandoned, leaving around 40 percent of the population in destitute. There are even arguments that the national army laid mines to stop the displaced residents re-enter Myanmar near the borders. Against this backdrop, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein commented that it is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

U.N. Security Council convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday and adopted a declaration. "I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law and recognise the right of return of all those who have had to leave the country," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the press conference in New York. China and Russia, which supported the Burmese government, have also participated in this movement. All in all, the public letter signed by 10 Nobel Peace Prize laureates gave a decisive impact to call for a swift end to the current situation.

Amid global uproar, over 400,000 people across the world have signed an online petition to withdraw Nobel Peace Prize won by the Burmese state counsellor. Nonetheless, Aung San Kyi disappointed the international society when she said during her telephone conversation with the Turkish President on last Tuesday that “a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists.” It is the argument of Aung San Kyi that the Burmese government only struck back when the armed forces of Rohingya first attacked the police guard post. The dismayed even say that Aung San Kyi widely known as “the iconic figure of democracy and human rights” betrayed the world.

Amid negative sentiment around the world, Aung San Kyi cancelled her participation in the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York. Indeed, her TV speech scheduled on next Tuesday will be the watershed event for the recent crisis.

As a Buddhist nation, 135 minorities are currently living in Myanmar. Still, the Burmese government does not recognize the Islamic minority group Rohingya as a citizen, and treat them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. According to Human Rights Watch, Rohingya members are constantly exposed to possibilities of being forfeited inhabitancy with no property rights.

Ja-Ryong Koo bonhong@donga.com