Desmond Tutu pleads for the protection of Muslims in Myanmar

2017-09-07 22:44
Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu (File, AP)

Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Thursday afternoon broke his “vow to remain silent on public affairs” to call on Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out about the Rohingya crisis.

An estimated 125 000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to Bangladesh since military operations were launched in the northern parts of Rakhine in the middle of August to find militants who allegedly raided police border posts, AFP reported. 

In a letter address to Suu Kyi, Tutu said it is not fitting for a “symbol of righteousness” such as Suu Kyi to lead a country where this kind of atrocity occurs. 

“My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep,” Tutu said. 

“A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country.”

Tutu said when Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in 2012, he believed it would bring relief to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. 

“But what some have called 'ethnic cleansing' and others 'a slow genocide' has persisted – and recently accelerated. The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread.

“As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again... We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness.”

Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991, has recently been criticised for her lacklustre response to the ongoing crisis. 

Myanmar’s constitution doesn’t allow direct government control of the military with the military having final say over constitutional amendments.

'Ethnic cleansing'

In a Facebook post on Myanmar State Counsellor Office on September 5, Suu Kyi said the discrimination of Rohingya Muslims was distorted through misinformation.

She pointed towards fake images shared by a Turkish Minister which were “photographs taken elsewhere in the world and not in Burma”. 

In April, Suu Kyi told the BBC “ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use” for the Rohingya crisis. 

She said there was "a lot of hostility" in the western state of Rakhine, where most of the Rohingya Muslims live.

"It is not just a matter of ethnic cleansing. It is a matter of people on different sides of a divide, and this divide we are trying to close up. As best as possible and not to widen it further.

"It is Muslims killing Muslims, as well.”

Myanmar’s constitution bars Suu Kyi from becoming the President in Myanmar because her sons are British, but she previously vowed to rule from “above”. 

Shortly after elections in 2015, Suu Kyi assumed the newly created role of State Counsellor which many have come to see as the de facto leadership position. 

A UN investigation into the human rights violations of the Rohingya Muslims was launched in March.

In April, Myanmar appointed former UN chief Kofi Annan to lead its own probe into possible crimes in Rakhine. 

Read more on:    desmond tutu  |  aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.