Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, in a statement issued ysterday, September 4, has called on Myanmar’s de facto leader to “stop the violence.” Malala Yousafzai is among the latest in a long line of human rights activists and officials in publicly criticizing Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s effective leader, for the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. More than 73,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar in the latest wave of violence by the Myanmar military, spurred by an attack from a group of Rohingya militants on a military post on Aug. 25.
The brutal treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya is longstanding — they’ve been called the most persecuted minority group on the planet. The United Nations
Ms Suu Kyi has faced growing criticism internationally for failing to stop the attacks upon the Rohingya.
A Pakistani education activist, Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her promotion of girls’ education. She took to Twitter Sunday to criticize Aung San Suu Kyi, a fellow Peace Prize recipient.
“Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment,” Yousafzai wrote. “I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting.”
She also called on Myanmar to “[s]top the violence,” and asked for other countries to offer Rohingya refugees food and sanctuary. In December, Yousafzai signed a letter along with several other Nobel laureates calling for the “international community as a whole to speak out much more strongly” as “a human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity is unfolding in Myanmar.”
Yanghee Lee, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, told the BBC it was a “really grave” situation in Rakhine and called for Suu Kyi to “step in.”
In the U.K., Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that “the treatment of the Rohingya is alas besmirching the reputation of Burma.” Myanmar is also known as Burma, and is a former British colony. He warned that the violence was “besmirching” the reputation of her country.
“I hope [Suu Kyi] can now use all her remarkable qualities to unite her country, to stop the violence and to end the prejudice that afflicts both muslims and other communities in Rakhine,” Johnson said in a statement.
Suu Kyi has kept mostly silent about the ongoing plight of the Muslim minority in largely Buddhist Myanmar — which may seem out of place for a democracy activist who spent most of the time between 1989 and 2010 under house arrest imposed by the military junta, which ruled the country at the time.
The silence of the Myaanmaar leader has been viewed as a cynical political strategy: “In overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, speaking out for the rights of a much-maligned Muslim minority doesn’t win votes.” Also, Myanmar’s military “still wields an inordinate amount of power in the country, and it has capitalized on the issue of the Rohingyas in order to preserve power,” Darwin Peng writes in the Harvard Political Review. But the latest wave of violence has been particularly horrific, human rights advocates say.
India has joined the countries with an insensitive attitude towards the internally displaced, especially if they are Muslims. The forced deportation of Myanmaar’s Rohingyaas from India is today the subject matter of a petition in the Supreme Court of India and has also drawn protests from the human rights community.Members of 45 Rohingya families residing on the outskirts of Mujeri village in Ballabgarh, Haryana’s Faridabad district, were assaulted allegedly by local people who objected to their plan to slaughter two buffalo calves on the occasion of Bakrid, just a few days ago, reported the Indian Express.Residents of the settlement say the conflict started on Friday evening after a couple of villagers confronted them when they spotted two buffalo calves tied to a tree near the settlement.
The United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has expressed serious concern over reports that Rohingya Muslim refugees, both legal and unregistered, are possibly facing deportation from India. The National Human Rights Commission, has issued a notice to the central government on the pruported policy decision to deport Rohongyas.
In February 2017, the United Nations brought out a report that is scathing of the security forces under the leader Aung San Suu Kyi, especially in the country’s Rakhine’s province.
The flash report – released six months ago by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) based on its interviews with people who fled Myanmar after attacks on a border post in early October, the ensuing counter military operations and a lockdown in north Maungdaw – documents mass gang-rape, killings, including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by the country’s security forces.
“The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
“What kind of ‘clearance operation’ is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?”
The gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international communityHigh Commissioner Zeid OHCHR noted that more than half of the women its human rights team interviewed reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence. Many other interviewees reported witnessing killings, including of family members and having family who were missing.