Friday, 17 August, 2018

Suu Kyi award revoked, United Nations wants Rohingya war crimes probe

Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. AFP FILE Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. AFP FILE
Marty Perkins | 10 March, 2018, 01:52

Hundreds of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have been killed, and more than 2,600 houses were burned in the week after a military operation by the Myanmar army over the Muslim-majority Rakhine state in the Buddhist-majority country.

The Holocaust museum encouraged Aung San Suu Kyi to cooperate with United Nations efforts to examine and prevent the campaign, and to grant the Rohingya citizenship and full rights, which they do not have.

"Based on inspiration that you created for millions around the world, with your long resistance to military dictatorship, and your advocacy for freedom and human rights for all the people of Myanmar, we were honoured to present you with the first Elie Wiesel Award in 2012", it said. Prevented by Myanmarese law from running for political office, she holds the title of state counselor and foreign minister.

In recent years, the Museum has been closely monitoring the military's campaign against the Rohingya and your response to it.

The letter continues, urging her to use her position to cooperate with worldwide efforts "to establish the truth about the atrocities committed in Rakhine State and secure accountability for perpetrators" and to lead changes to Myanmarese law that leave most Rohingya stateless.

More than 40,000 people have been "lost" and are presumed dead after being forced to migrate to neighboring Bangladesh, according to a report published by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) earlier this month.




Despite these credible accounts of human rights abuses, documents released under freedom of information laws show that the Australian defence department plans to spend nearly $400,000 on training members of the Myanma military in 2017-18.

Rohingya refugees who were stranded walk near the no man's land area between Bangladesh and Myanmar in October 2017.

The Guardian said on March 6: "Australia has so far diverged from its allies and resisted calls from groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to suspend military cooperation with Myanmar".

Human rights organizations around the world have condemned the attacks on the Rohingya people and in November, the US government declared the situation in Myanmar an example of "ethnic cleansing". "Regrettably over the last five years the situation has become progressively worse and today seems untenable for the Rohingya population", the museum's site says.

Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico and longtime friend of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, recently quit an advisory board on the Rohingya crisis, calling it a "cheerleading squad" for the government.

The museum had hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi would speak out and try to end the brutal campaign, the letter added. "But that is no excuse for her failure to wield her substantial moral authority to attempt to halt the assaults and seek reconciliation". The authorities in Myanmar accused them of possessing state secrets.

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