CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

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Suu Kyi skirts the truth about Rohingya

HONG KONG  (SE): Myanmar’s state counsellor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, broke her silence over the massive Rohingya crisis in the northern state of Rahkine when she addressed matter in a nationally televised speech on September 18 CNN reported.
 
She said, “It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abdicate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violation and unlawful violence.” 
 
However, Suu Kyi skirted any direct mention of the persecution of the Rohingya, saying only that, “We are committed to the restoration of peace, stability and rule of law throughout the state.”
 
Answering mounting international criticism she said, “There are allegations and counter allegations and we have to listen to all of them. And we have to make sure these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.” 
 
CNN reported Suu Kyi as saying that the situation in Rakhine was one of many complexities her country’s nascent democracy faces—like a sick person needing treatment for multiple ailments.
 
“We are a young and fragile country facing many problems, but we have to cope with them all. We cannot just concentrate on the few,” she said.
 
However Suu Kyi offered to “start a refugee verification process for those who wish to return,” adding those verified as refugees would be accepted without any problem and have full assurance of security and access to humanitarian aid referred to in a 1993 agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
 
Kyaw Min, chairperson of the Yangon-based Rohingya Democracy and Human Rights Party, noted it would be difficult for refugees to show any documentation because they fled for their lives under awful conditions, UCAN reported on September 20.
 
“Thousands of Rohingya who fled Rakhine State due to fear actually want to come back but it is up to the government on how willing they are to accept them,” Kyaw Min said.
 
Refugees themselves were unimpressed by Suu Kyi’s words, , UCAN reported on September 20. 
 
Muhammad Hashem, a teacher in Maungdaw who fled Myanmar after August 25 said, “It seems she is saying the allegations of atrocities are just allegations and what the whole world knows is false. Her promises of repatriating Rohingya and allow them to live in peace are a blatant lie.” 
 
He added, “She has already shown her true colours by taking side with military and Buddhist extremists, and today’s speech was just an eye-wash.” 
 
Jamir Ahmed who arrived in Bangladesh with his family. said, “By saying the allegations of violence against Rohingya need investigation she is denying the facts. The world knows what happened and it is hard to believe she doesn’t know the truth.”
 
Ahmed, who was shot in the leg by soldiers as he fled they burned down house said, “Her speech was prepared by the military and full of lies and false promises.” 
 
Muhammad Noor, a refugee who has been in the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar since 1992, said Suu Kyi’s speech glossed over the “truth about the genocide.” 
 
He accused her of failing “to deliver hope for refugees and we are doubtful she can make any difference for us through the intervention of the international community and the United Nations (UN).”
 
UCAN reported James Gomez, Amnesty International’s director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said, “Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming.”
 
On September 13, the UN general secretary, Antonio Guterres, described the situation of the Rohingya as catastrophic. He called on the Myanmese authorities to “suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law and recognise the right of return of all those who have had to leave the country.” 
 
Media reported that the UN Security Council condemned the violence and called for “immediate steps to end the violence in Rakhine, de-escalate the situation, re-establish law and order, ensure the protection of civilians.
 
The BBC reported on September 18 that and estimated 400,000 Rohingya had streamed into Bangladesh, fleeing the violence that began on August 25 and has seen whole villages burned to the ground.

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