Rohingya issue forced her to escape embarrassment
To escape the mounting criticism by international community, Myanmar’s de facto leader, Noble Laureate State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi has cancelled her participation in the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session to be held between 19-25 September. She is facing stiff criticism for spiralling Rohingya crisis inside the country’s Rakhine state.
Instead of her, Myanmar’s Vice President is expected to attend the General Assembly who will address the world leaders on behalf of the Noble Laureate Suu Kyi.
Myanmar government spokesman for Suu Kyi, Zaw Htay, on Wednesday said “the State Councillor will not attend” the General Assembly, where she spoke last year.
The spokesperson for her party National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung Shin was quoted saying that “perhaps” Ms Suu Kyi has “more pressing matters to deal with.”
She further added, “She’s never afraid of facing criticism or confronting problems.” However she said that she was not aware of the reason for the Aung San Suu Kyi’s withdrawal from this year’s General Assembly.
During her first address at UN General Assembly, last year, Aung San Suu Kyi defended her government’s efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Myanmar’s envoy at UN has recently blamed Rohingya “insurgents” for the violence in Rakhine state and said that his government would never tolerate such atrocities.
The present Rohingya crisis began on august 25 when a ragtag militia attacked about 30 police posts and an army camp. This prompted a sweeping military counter offensive that refugees say it aimed at pushing Rohingyas out of the country.
There are reports from refugees and rights groups of widespread attacks on Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine by the security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have reportedly set several Muslim villages on fire.
Meanwhile Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while speaking in Tehran on Tuesday, said that Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims marks the “death of the Noble Peace Prize”.
He was quoted saying, “A cruel government, at the top of which sits a cruel woman who was awarded a Nobel Prize, kills innocent people, sets fire to them, destroys their houses and displaces them and no tangible reaction is seen.”
Earlier on Monday, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while speaking at the sidelines of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit on science and technology in Astana, Kazakhstan, had called for cooperation in offering aid to Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar.
The two leaders stressed for taking action to put an end to the violence against Rohingya. Rouhani said that the plight of Rohingya, along with other situations in the Muslim world, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine, showed the need for unity. Iranian President said, “Iran’s humanitarian aid for the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar will soon be shipped.”
On his arrival in Tehran, President Rouhani was quoted saying, “Although there was not much time for discussions, all the countries in attendance at the meeting agreed on the necessity of helping the displaced and applying pressure on Myanmar’s government to suspend the genocide.”
More than 370,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence since August 25. United Nations says that an average of almost 20,000 have been fleeing every day.
Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the Chief of UN Human Rights organization has termed the actions of Myanmar’s armed forces as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” However, Myanmar has denounced Hussein’s suggestion.
Some of Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s critics have called for stripping her of Noble peace prize for failing to do more to address the crisis.
Donald Trump administration has called for protection of civilians while Bangladesh says that all refugees will have to go home in the proposed safe zones to be created in Myanmar. However China has supported Myanmar’s efforts to safeguard “development and stability”.
Myanmar’s military has ruled for almost 50 years until it began a transition to democracy in 2011. However army still holds important political powers and fully controls security of the country.