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Press Release: Aung San Suu Kyi’s disingenuous speech fails to address Rohingya genocide

(Photo: Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera)

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)

Press release 
21 September 2017

Aung San Suu Kyi’s disingenuous speech fails to address Rohingya genocide 

The Rohingya people are outraged by the highly contentious and ambiguous speech of the Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered before the diplomatic community on 19 September in Naypyidaw. She made numerous disingenuous excuses that fail to address the crisis, the untold sufferings of the Rohingya people, that the U.N stated a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing.” 

Without condemning the Myanmar military and collaborators, Suu Kyi tried to deflect the blame for the mass atrocity crimes and told the diplomats that she was unaware the facts why Muslims (Rohingyas) fled to Bangladesh and that “while many villages had been destroyed, more than half were still intact.” It is a hypocritical statement that suggests that she is a morally bankrupt to take a moral stand on “Rohingya genocide”. 

Invoking the UN Charter, she called for a “kinder and more compassionate for all mankind” – just apparently not for the helpless, weakest, poorest and most hated Rohingya minority. Unsurprisingly, throughout the speech, she declined to use the term Rohingya and thereby she rejects in practice the basic international norms and standards which respect physical integrity, self-identification, existence as a community, maintenance of identity and effective participation in governance. She is denying the ethnic Rohingya their “right to exist” in Myanmar.

It is an absurd excuse to talk of “equal rights to higher education” for the Rohingya people who have just been subjected to genocide, who are denied basic rights and freedoms -- freedom of movement, right to education, right to marry, right to vote, right to recognition before the law and as a community. For decades Rohingya students have been barred from studying in country’s colleges and universities, not to speak of equal opportunity. 

Her commitments to implement a “strategy and national verification process” for the Rohingya -- including those possibly returning refugees who fled for their lives and lost almost everything -- are simply ridiculous. Rohingya are natural born citizens of Arakan/Myanmar, they do not require cooperating with such unworthy “verification” scheme, a dirty trick of the perpetrators of genocide. 

It is a groundless excuse to talk those 18 months in power is a very short time for her new government to speak out for the Rohingya. Whereas Suu Kyi did not hesitate to voice for other communities, she did not even visit northern Rakhine State to see the Rohingya victims of deadly violence. In no time she could condemn the perpetrators, demand cessation of violations, insist upon the protection of the vulnerable and facilitate relief, allow the international media and accept the UN Fact-Finding Commission to investigate crimes against humanity. On top of that, in a relatively short time, she could have restored the citizenship of the Rohingya population that has been unjustly stripped of. Instead, by evading her government’s ‘responsibility to protect’ the Rohingya, she is trying to hoodwink the international community.

The plight of Rohingya is well-known as the most serious of all problems in Myanmar. Although their outcry reaches far and wide it does not get the ear of Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar leaders. There is no need to investigate “what the real problems are” or, strangely, to ask the half a million or so who did not flee what calculation they made in staying. 

It is not the time for double-dealing, but to act on the universal principle of justice and equality! 

For more details, please contact:
Australia: Dr. Hla Myint + 61-423381904
Bangladesh: Ko Ko Linn: + 880-1726068413
Canada: Nur Hasim +1-519-5725359
Japan: Zaw Min Htut + 81-8030835327
U.K. Ronnie: +44-7783118354
U.S.A: Dr. Habibullah: +1-4438158609

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