RANGOON – Myanmar Noble Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi says she will not back the minority of Rohingya Muslims that have been persecuted and killed by the majority Buddhists.
“I am urging tolerance but I do not think one should use one’s moral leadership, if you want to call it that, to promote a particular cause without really looking at the sources of the problems,” Suu Kyi told the BBC on Saturday.
This is the first time that the opposition leader has announced her stance about the months-long violence in her country officially.
Since the onset of the deadly violence against Rohingyas in the western Rakhine state in June, Suu Kyi has been the target of harsh swipe from international human rights activist for failing to speak against the killings and persecution of Muslims in Myanmar.
“If people are killing one another and setting fire to one another’s houses, how are we going to come to any kind of reasonable settlement?” she said.
The remarks by the democracy champion, as she is described by Western countries, come as all major news outlets are providing compelling evidence about the persecution of Rohingyas at the hands of Buddhists and Myanmars security forces.
The Myanmar government and its majority population refuse to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and label the minority of about 800,000 as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, an impoverished state that has shown no willingness to help the Rohingyas.
More than 100,000 Rohingyas have been displaced since the violence broke out in June, according to the UN. However, the humanitarian situation is continuing to deteriorate.
“The situation is dire. The UN is doing its best, but it is trying to find more funding to help them,” said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an NGO working with the Rohingya.
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