Stop Rohingya killings
The United Nations says more than a quarter million Rohingya refugees fleeing a military offensive in northern Myanmar have poured into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, creating a major humanitarian crisis in the South Asian country and putting Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a sticky wicket.
Tagged by some as “the world’s most persecuted minority”, the Rohingya are a mostly Muslim ethnic group who have called Buddhist-dominated Myanmar home for centuries. But Myanmar does not count them among its 135 official ethnic groups and has denied them citizenship since 1982, rendering them stateless.
Not surprisingly, much of the rage prompted by the refugee crisis has been directed at Ms Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Among notable people who have condemned Ms Suu Kyi for her “silence” on the plight of the Rohingya is retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
In the fog of the crisis, Ms Suu Kyi’s critics seem to have forgotten that, even after she was elected in 2015, she governs with a military elite who, besides a quarter of parliamentary seats, get to pick two vice-presidents and the defence minister, among other key posts.
On this matter, clearly Ms Suu Kyi is hemmed in and has limited options. The UN must end the killings.