In defense of Aung San Suu Kyi

In defense of Aung San Suu Kyi

But in recent news I also see many in the global community placing blame for the treatment of the Rohingya and this spate of violence exclusively on Myanmar's de facto leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi - a Nobel Peace Prize victor for her work on human rights and democracy for which she suffered for decades.

Today, the United Nations confirmed that 270,000 people have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar over the past two weeks - more than double their estimate from only a few days ago.

It adds to the increasing worldwide criticism the de facto leader of Myanmar - also known as Burma - has faced over her handling of the situation facing Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine state. The UN estimates that at least 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, and over a quarter of a million have fled across the border to neighboring Bangladesh.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), formerly known as the al-Yaqeen Faith Movement, has taken responsibility for last month's attack on 30 police posts and an army base, in which militants attacked security forces with sticks, knives and crudely made explosives. The ceasefire would begin on Sunday, the statement said.

The US condemns a "variety" of attacks - "attacks on security forces, attacks on civilians (and) attacks by civilians", he said. The latest bloodshed has resulted in 146,000 people fleeing the area, mostly into neighbouring Bangladesh. "We urge for calm and restraint", Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted. The government, he added, "inherited a host of enormous challenges".

"So spare no effort in waging jihad against them and repulsing their attacks, and beware of letting down our brothers in Burma", he said in a video message, released by al-Qaeda's al-Malahem media foundation. She joins other worldwide rights groups in urging the Myanmar government to allow humanitarian and media access in Rakhine, the country's poorest state. But, human rights campaigners point out that most have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Archbishop Tutu has now added his voice to many others who have called on Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to protect Myanmar's persecuted Muslim minority.

I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya.

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'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.

Launched on the website Change.org, the petition read, in part, that whenever a Nobel Peace Prize laureate "cannot maintain peace, then for the sake of peace itself, the prize needs to be returned or confiscated by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee".

"Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar", Pakistani activist Yousafzai, who famously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, said in a statement on Twitter.

In his call with reporters, Murphy termed those discussions productive and ongoing, and said the USA is finding "very willing partners within the government".

He said Suu Kyi and her government established the Rakhine Commission under the leadership of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a year ago.

"It won't be easy", said Murphy.

While there is plenty of blame to place on the military for the current situation in Rakhine state, Suu Kyi is the only one seeking to walk a tightrope, between providing a positive way forward for the Rohingya on the one hand, while not providing the military the pretext for ending Myanmar's fledgling democracy on the other.

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