Myanmar Disaster Marks Death of Nobel Peace Prize: Iran Leader

Pauline Gross
September 13, 2017

Media captionRohingya Muslims had to decide what to to bring and what to leave.

Outspoken Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Thursday castigated Aung San Suu Kyi over the Myanmar government's treatment of its Rohingya Muslims and urged her to intervene in the crisis.

With Rohingya refugees still flooding across the border from Myanmar, those packed into camps and makeshift settlements in Bangladesh were becoming desperate on Saturday for scant basic resources as hunger and illness soared.

The United Nations says that almost 164,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh over the past two weeks to escape a massive security sweep and alleged atrocities by the country's security forces and Buddhist mobs.

"May I take the liberty of writing to you once again to tell you how dismayed I am by the distressing circumstances in which the situation seems to have deteriorated further", he wrote to Myanmar's de facto leader.

Presidential office spokesman Zaw Htay said Ms Suu Kyi will skip the assembly, which opened on Tuesday and runs until September 25, to address domestic security issues.

Suu Kyi, feted for her years of peaceful opposition to Myanmar's military rulers, has been urged to speak up for the Rohingya, with Muslim nations and the UN leading condemnation of her government.

Farmaner told The Times that although Prince Charles might be sensitive to the plight of the Rohingyas, considering his longstanding links to charities working in Myanmar, the British government had "looked the other way" as the crisis escalated.

"We were disappointed in her reaction behind the scenes", said Rachel Vincent, the director of the Ottawa-based Nobel Women's Initiative, who was also at the NY meeting. Rakhine Buddhists, feeling unsafe after the upsurge in fighting, are moving south to the state's capital, Sittwe, where Buddhists are a majority and have greater security.

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"The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solutions".

On a moral plane, the Indian government can hardly hope to defend its stand given the fact that the Rohingya face an imminent threat to their lives in the wake of the ongoing "ethnic-cleansing" drives in the Rakhine State, Myanmar.

"The logic of the creation of such zones is that no Rohingya can come inside Bangladesh", said Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh's foreign secretary, the top civil servant in the foreign ministry. The report calls for freedom of movement, for communal participation and representation, for a comprehensive strategy for the closure of internally displaced person camps, for inter-communal cohesion efforts to be intertwined with vocational training and cultural events, for the professionalization of police, for improved bilateral relations with neighboring Bangladesh, and for the creation of a mechanism to implement the Commission's recommendations.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are struggling to keep their heads above water, as the humanitarian crisis involving the Rohingya people has left her country externally beleaguered and internally inert. The Nobel citation praised her "non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights", which the prize committee considered "one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades". She then went on to steer the National League for Democracy through the country's first internationally recognized elections since independence. Entire villages of Rohingya Muslims have been burnt to the ground.

I also met radical Buddhists in Rakhine and other parts of Myanmar who supported the persecution of the Rohingya and actively encouraged it.

She does not control the military.

Myanmar's government also announced on Tuesday the formation of a committee to implement the recommendations of a commission on the situation in Rakhine led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan and a separate commission led by Vice President U Myint Swe, who is a former junta leader.

There were at least a million members of the Rohingya ethnic group living in Myanmar, a lot of them Muslim, though some are Hindu.

"This is what I would like to say and the government should be careful".

Other reports by GizPress

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