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Rohingya Muslims’ Voting Rights Are Revoked. Where Is Aung San Suu Kyi?

(Photo: Reuters)

By Editorial
February 16, 2015

Aung San Suu Kyi is an icon of democracy. Why isn't she speaking up for 1.3 million oppressed in her own country?

Myanmar’s government remains helpless to Buddhist nationalists as temporary voting rights given to the country's persecuted Rohingya minority were revoked by President Thein Sein last week.

Following the passage of a law that allowed temporary residents who hold "white papers" to vote in the upcoming elections, hundreds of Buddhist extremists took to the streets of Yangon.

Nearly 1.3 million Rohingya, a Muslim minority, live in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. However, they are regarded as “outsiders” or migrants from Bangladesh. The situation for the community became worse worse in 2012 when the “969 Movement” was initiated by "Buddhist Bin Laden" Ashin Wirathu.

The genocidal campaign has caused hundreds of deaths and displaced more than 140,000 Muslims in almost three years. Wirathu and his followers have also endorsed and proposed several legislative measures and policies against the Rohingya which include the revoking of voting rights – if ever granted.

(Photo: Reuters)

As the Burmese government stripped the Rohingya people of their fundamental rights, Myanmar's democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi paid tribute to her late father, General Aung San, on the 100th anniversary of his birth on Saturday.

While she called for unification and development of her country, Suu Kyi yet again failed to remember the plight of the local Muslim community.

The inexplicable silence and inaction over the genocide from world leaders, human rights organization and Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader is just as frustrating as the perpetrators’ crimes.

Suu Kyi, it seems, has decided to avoid the issue and take a neutral stance over the blatant violation of human rights. For instance, on her first trip to the U.S. in 2012, she remained curiously silent on the plight of the Rohingya people. Similarly during her visit to the United Kingdom in 2013, she repeatedly avoided giving an unequivocal condemnation of the anti-Muslim violence that is engulfing her country.

Keeping the latest decision to revoke temporary voting rights for the Rohingya community, it looks like Myanmar’s newfound democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi is nothing but just a mirage.

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