More International Pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi to End Rohingya Misery

Casey Dawson
September 12, 2017

We urge you to use all your power and influence to ensure that the government of Myanmar engages with the people of this area in a humane and compassionate manner in order to avoid further attacks or reprisals which will only turn people into enemies.

But here we are again - feeling betrayed by our longings.

Inevitably, the Suu Kyi backlash has given rise to calls that she be stripped of her Nobel Prize and other baubles of worldwide recognition. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same'.

"The global community has no excuse to allow the genocide of Rohingya Muslims to continue in front of our eyes", Zarif tweeted.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators - Democrats Richard Durbin, Ill., Dianne Feinstein, Calif., and Cory Booker, N.J., and Republican John McCain, Ariz. - issued a joint resolution condemning the "horrific acts of violence" against the Rohingya and imploring Suu Kyi "to play an active role in ending this humanitarian tragedy".

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. His quote, sadly, now seems to fit Aung San Suu Kyi like a glove. She received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her efforts to hold free and fair elections in her country. As my novel was about a British girl who stands up for herself against the odds - and wins - my publicist thought it would be interesting to list the women who had inspired me enough to write a story about defending human rights.

Burmese police and army have launched a violent crackdown in the state following attacks by Rohingya insurgents on border posts past year. According to monitors, up to 1,000 people have been killed. This has made it more hard to handle the plight of the increasing number of persecuted Rohingya.

And they are facing it not only in Myanmar, where bigotry is at the root of their longtime effective quarantine, but also from the wider world, where prejudice has long manifested itself as indifference. Many others effectively live in open-air prisons, their villages watched over by security forces.

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Anybody who has spent time in her company knows that shifting her mind when she is set on a course of action is extremely hard.

Trump, by contrast, does not appear to have spoken with Suu Kyi, who skipped a roundtable meeting of Southeast Asian leaders with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in May because of scheduling conflicts.

Getty Images Rohingya Muslim refugees sleep under a makeshift shelter in a clearing in a forest after crossing the border from Myanmar on September 8, 2017 in Gundum, Bangladesh.

"These latest tragic developments are a troubling sign that the Burmese government and military are moving in the wrong direction", Gardner said in a statement.

One Rohingya survivor told Mr Smith: "My two nephews - their heads were cut off".

Aid agencies are not being allowed to provide humanitarian support to the people displaced or isolated by this violence. In their hunt for the militants, the distribution of food, shelter and much-needed materials has been stopped.

Ms Suu Kyi has attracted criticism from around the world for failing to speak out about the violence. A Bangladeshi judge wants her to be tried for crimes against humanity. "Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it". One problem is that she needs a little more time, and then she will be able to make things much better.

I happen to be one of those who have the greatest respect for the strength and fortitude displayed by her over the decades in her struggle against the military dictatorship. Like me, many people are hoping that Suu Kyi will eventually realise and address the inhuman treatment towards the Rohingya community and will take preventive measures to stop this unacceptable violence against humanity.

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