Desmond Tutu speaks out on plight of Rohingya Muslims

  • Desmond Tutu speaks out on plight of Rohingya Muslims

Desmond Tutu speaks out on plight of Rohingya Muslims

She was once synonymous with the struggle against oppression.

"It is not possible to strip a Nobel peace prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed", Njølstad wrote in an email.

The organisation which oversees the Novel Peace Prize is unable to withdraw the honour from Myanmar President Aung San Suu Kyi, in spite of the fact her government is committing "genocide" against the Rohingya Muslims in the country.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize victor, is one of the latest figures to call on Suu Kyi to intervene in the conflict.

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the country once known as Burma. Dozens have drowned in river crossings. Rather, she blamed global aid groups and complained about "a huge iceberg of misinformation" aiming to help "the terrorists" - presumably meaning the Rohingya. Suu Kyi addressed a gathering stating, "I could not, as my father's daughter, remain indifferent to all that was going on".

"It is expected that the United Nations act swiftly and undertake all necessary measures towards addressing worldwide concerns about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar", Zarif said. Other commentators have urged the Nobel Committee to revoke her prize.

Further, the military government backed by Aung San Suu Kyi has been denying provisions to the Rohingya in Arakan state, including the 120,000-plus who have been in camps for Internally displaced persons since 2012.

Patel also questioned the value of Suu Kyi's honorary Canadian citizenship.

Congressional leaders from both parties are adding their voices to the worldwide condemnation of the violence in western Myanmar that has sent an estimated 164,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh and led to growing doubts about Suu Kyi's leadership. But for someone who was once an inspiration, how radically she has refused to point out the plight of the Rohingya population in Myanmar!

But within was also an indictment of the world's muted reaction to the violence against, and extraordinary displacement of, thousands of people who are already labelled the most persecuted minority in the world. On its part, the Muslim world is as insensitive as rest of the world, the modern democracies.

The refugees say there is no policy for the community in Pakistan but it is not a burden here

Prior to that, the Muslims were frequent targets of Buddhist mobs. Despite all her failings, according to this version of events, Suu Kyi may be all that stands between the Rohingya and an all-out genocide. Myanmar army commander Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has chillingly described the government-approved military clearance operations as "unfinished business" dating back to the Second World War.

She was always keen to know how the African National Congress had managed the transition to majority rule in South Africa, my previous posting.

"If she were to speak out more vociferously in defence of the Rohingya, she would lose a lot of her domestic support".

Some say she may also worry for her safety.

To stem worldwide condemnation, Suu Kyi in August 2016 asked for recommendations from an Advisory Commission led by Kofi Annan. The brazen killing appeared to stun Suu Kyi, who waited several weeks before issuing a public statement about it.

UN's Secretary General Antonio Guterres's spokesperson Farhan Haq said that Guerres is concerned about India's decision, adding that refugees should not be sent back to countries where they fear persecution once they are registered with the UN.

We know that the Myanmar government responds to pressure, because that's what won Ms Suu Kyi her freedom.

A recent UN Security Council meeting remained inconclusive over this genocide and earlier in March 2017, Russian Federation and China blocked a resolution over the issue, which led the current massive human rights violation against Rohingyas in Myanmar. This is a terrorism issue superimposed on a communal crisis.

The story goes something like this: the handsome daughter of an assassinated national hero opposes a gang of tyrannical generals who have driven a attractive land into poverty and stagnation. "She is trying her best". But she is the same, like the others. "They're killing children", Mr Matthew Smith, chief executive of a human rights group called Fortify Rights, told me after interviewing refugees on the Bangladesh border.

So what is this respected woman and active proponent of human rights and democracy really like? "She is failing to do so".