Suu Kyi should be ashamed of herself

2017-09-12 13:25
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

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In Myanmar, Syria, Yemen and other parts of the globe like the Central African Republic (CAR) the mass persecution of citizens and human suffering is continuing unabated.

In the age of huge technological advances and instant communication, in an era where information can be transmitted within seconds, in a world where you can read, see and hear the victims and their horror stories in uncensored reports and real time, we are doing nothing while human beings are killed, displaced, hurt and made into refugees every minute of the day.

Here I am reminded of the astute words of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many decades later his wise words and values are still echoing. To quote King, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it”.

According to authenticated and credible reports from Myanmar an on-going genocide of the Rohingya, a minority ethnic civilian population which includes vulnerable women, children and babies in the Rakhine State, is taking place.

Satellite imagery and information based on interviews with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, analysed by Human Rights Watch illustrate killings, shelling, and arson in their villages that have all the hallmarks of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing”.

In this regard, South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu needs to be commended for speaking truth to power. In a letter addressed to fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi, he requested her to intervene and stop the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya community.

Myanmar, led ironically by Suu Kyi and the military under the leadership of Commander-in-chief Aung Hlaing have, and are still committing unconscionable deeds such as crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya.

It seems Suu Kyi, the famously unwavering defender of human rights, does not seem to be touched by the seriousness of the situation and there is no indication whatsoever that this situation is likely to change.

She denies that the mass killings of the Rohingya is “genocide” and has publicly stuck to the military junta line that the Rohingya are illegally squatting on the Burmese territory.

Although the United Nations (UN) describes the Rohingya as Burma’s most persecuted ethnic group, Suu Kyi dismisses the Rohingya crisis as a propaganda campaign. Therefore, global leaders and the international community need to urgently intervene and impose the rule of law and human rights.

These acts of “genocide” against the minority citizens in the country’s western Rakhine state must be immediately addressed in order to stop the persecution and discrimination from escalating into a full-blown, modern-day Rwandan genocide.

The respect for international law, international humanitarian law and Geneva conventions must prevail under all circumstances where human dignity, preservation of human life and human rights are paramount. 

There must be an immediate implementation plan towards the recognition of the minority Rohingya as part of the Myanmar people with full recognition of their civil and political rights and a reinstatement of their citizenship.

If something is not done immediately about the situation of the Rohingya, the issue will come back to haunt us as an even greater international humanitarian catastrophe. A tragedy which could have been prevented if only acted on timeously.

- Mohamed Saeed says probing the media headlines, critical thinking, creating waves and promoting fundamental rights, social justice, rule of law, dignity and values is his passion and mission in life.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar  |  genocide  |  rohingya

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