Desmond Tutu Pleads for the Protection of Muslims in Myanmar

Bangladesh Rakhine refugees
Critics Circle Aung San Suu Kyi Over Rohingya Crisis

09 September, 2017

Desmond Tutu has become the second Nobel Peace Prize victor to criticise fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi about her silence over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, who is an honorary Canadian citizen, has dismissed the complaints as misinformation and says the Myanmar government, which she now leads, is fighting a militant insurgency.

Burmese police and army have launched a violent crackdown in the state following attacks by Rohingya insurgents on border posts previous year.

The comment came amid the ongoing situation in which more than 270,000 Myanmar nationals have crossed the border into Bangladesh since the beginning of the latest wave of violence in Rakhine State on Aug 25.

She said that Bangladesh is refusing to accept Burmese refugees because it can not afford the economic burden, so Muslim countries should step in to help them.

"While Kashmir is a purely political dispute, the Muslims in Myanmar are facing threat to their survival and are facing the worst crimes against humanity", Rasheed said.

'Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread.

Meanwhile, the United Nations' secretary-general, Antonio Gutteres, on Tuesday said the clearance operations risked ethnic cleansing.

He joined a growing list of figures calling on Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene in the conflict. The majority of them are Muslim, as opposed to the majority of Myanmar's population, which is Buddhist.

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Genocide, mass killing, ethnic cleansing, persecution.these words don't sit well when you talk about a Nobel Peace Prize victor.

This is the message from Desmond Tutu to Aung San Suu Kyi, over the handling of Myanmar violence.

Already a septuagenarian like Donald Trump, Suu Kyi's deafening silence on Myanmar army's systematic campaign of brutality against the 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim minority could turn out to be her political nemesis and "a crisis of her credibility".

"The de facto leader needs to step in - that is what we would expect from any government, to protect everybody within their own jurisdiction", Yanghee Lee, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said this week.

'We know that you know that human beings may look and worship differently - and some may have greater firepower than others - but none are superior and none inferior.

I also met radical Buddhists in Rakhine and other parts of Myanmar who supported the persecution of the Rohingya and actively encouraged it. While Canada and others have denounced the ethnic cleansing, there are now a lot more voices telling Aung San Suu Kyi to continue on this path to religious demagoguery.

"The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solution", said the UNHCR spokesperson.

Rohingya refugee Tayeba Khatun said she and her family had waited four days for a place on a boat after fleeing her township in Rakhine. But, in her recent interviews, she has mentioned that the army is dealing with terrorists who have attacked the military after whatever the country has done for them.

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