Nobel Peace’s shame

August 29, 2017 - 19:55

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winner, raised to power in Myanmar eagerly showing that she intends to bring peace and prosperity. It was a tremendous task for a nation with a dark record of Junta.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the world’s most famous prisoners of conscience came to power and instead of following her mottoes she proved otherwise and ashamed herself, Myanmar and its nation, the Nobel Prize committee and in total all humanity particularly freedom seeking people of the world.

Suu Kyi witnesses all the maladies of the Rohingya Muslims and still decides to remain silent and dodge reporters and media. Suu Kyi neglected what she pretended to fight for.
What happened to all the freedom speech talks that Suu Kyi made?

Many who led the campaign to free her now believe Aung San Suu Kyi’s questionable leadership style, her inability or unwillingness to communicate and defend a vision, and her reluctance to speak out against the persecution of minorities have left them in a dilemma whether they did the right thing.

What happened to Aung San Suu Kyi who, during 15 years of house arrest at her lakeside villa on University Avenue in Yangon, delivered speeches about human rights?

At least she was at her villa with enough to eat and drink, enjoying the privilege of a sleep without fear, not just like her compatriot Rohingya Muslims.

Peace was Aung San Suu Kyi’s priority that was what she said before taking office when she took trips to the border regions, often wearing local dress. Now, ethnic leaders have recently questioned the extent of her sympathies with minorities.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s image had already begun to blur in 2012, when she did not speak out after a surge in sectarian violence that led to the deaths of hundreds of people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, in Rakhine state. In an apparent concession to domestic racist factions, her party blocked Muslims from running for parliament in 2015.

Many people put her ruthlessness down to political expedience and fear of an unpredictable military.

 HRW: Satellite data show fires burning in Rakhine state

Satellite data accessed by a rights body shows widespread fires burning in at least 10 areas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, following a military crackdown on the country's Muslim Rohingya population.

Arakan Times, an online news website serving the Rohingya community, said Myanmar border guard police and soldiers burned down 1,000 homes in actions beginning on Saturday and continuing on Monday.

A group of journalists who tried to drive to Maungdaw on Monday were turned back by police and soldiers.

Residents and activists have accused soldiers of shooting indiscriminately at unarmed Rohingya men, women and children and carrying out arson attacks.

However, authorities in Myanmar say close to 100 people have been killed since Friday when armed men, reportedly from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), launched a pre-dawn raid on police outposts in the restive region.

Myanmar authorities say Rohingya “extremist terrorists” have been setting the fires during fighting with government troops, while Rohingya have blamed soldiers, who have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

A government spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

“The Burmese government should grant access to independent monitors to determine the sources of fires and assess allegations of human rights violations,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on Tuesday.

HRW said fires have razed 100km of land - an area larger than that burned during a crackdown by the Myanmar military following attacks by Rohingya fighters in October 2016, when data from the group suggested some 1,500 buildings were destroyed.

The locations of the fires correlate with some witness statements and media reports describing blazes deliberately set, the group said.

“This new satellite data should cause concern and prompt action by donors and the United Nations agencies to urge the Burmese government to reveal the extent of ongoing destruction in Rakhine State,” Phil Robertson, HRW's deputy Asia director, said in a statement.

“Shuffling all the blame on insurgents doesn’t spare the Burmese [Myanmar] government from its international obligations to stop abuses and investigate alleged violations.”

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, “is deeply concerned at the reports of civilians being killed …,” according to a statement from spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Guterres called on Bangladesh to step up assistance to civilians escaping the violence, noting “many of those fleeing are women and children, some of whom are wounded”.

More than 3,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, where the ethnic Muslim minority faces persecution, in the past three days, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Monday.

Bangladesh has said there are thousands more Rohingya massed on its border with Myanmar, where it has stepped up patrols and pushed back hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter.

On Monday, Bangladesh detained and forcibly returned at least 90 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar.

About 87,000 refugees entered Bangladesh in 2016 following the military crackdown.

 Ethnic cleansing

The UN believes the army's response may amount to ethnic cleansing, allegations denied by the government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the army.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya fighters in Rakhine state.

At the weekend, as violence in Rakhine worsened, Bangladesh's foreign minister summoned Myanmar's chargé d'affaires in Dhaka to express “serious concern” at the possibility of a fresh refugee influx.

There are already almost 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in squalid camps near its border with Myanmar.

 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh after violent clashes

Elsewhere, About 1,000 persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar's western Rakhine state have fled to neighboring Bangladesh after coming under fire from military soldiers.

Jahangir Aziz, a Bangladeshi local government representative, said that when Myanmar troops fired their guns, the crowd ran back and broke through a Bangladesh barricade and cordon of 300-400 guards.

They then scattered, with at least some making it to unofficial camps for unregistered refugees, the official added.

The Muslims, who were seeking refuge from the ongoing violence in Myanmar, had been in a border no man's land for two days.

Renewed violence erupted on August 25 after dozens of police and border outposts in Rakhine allegedly came under attack by a group claiming to be advocating the Muslim Rohingyas against the government crackdown in Rakhine. A total of 89 people, including 12 security personnel, were killed during the violence.

Myanmar’s government brands the 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population in the country as “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims, however, have had roots in the country that go back centuries. They are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”

The government used a militant attack on border guards back in October 2016 as a pretext to enforce the blockade on Rakhine.

There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by the military since the crackdown began.

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