CNN on Aung San Suu Kyi’s Silence Regarding the Rohingya: “Has ‘The Lady’ Lost Her Voice?”

“Myanmar’s National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi pictured at a polling station in 2012.”

CNN has a substantial feature online about Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya in Burma. In it, the news agency wonders, “Has ‘The Lady’ lost her voice?” Here’s a snippet:

[Human Rights Watch] executive director Kenneth Roth was withering in a recent report: “The world was apparently mistaken to assume that as a revered victim of rights abuse she would also be a principled defender of rights.”

Aung Zaw, editor of Myanmar news magazine The Irrawaddy, said that while she remained popular among Burmese, Suu Kyi had eroded some of her domestic support in recent years.

Her failure to speak out on ethnic issues and the communal violence that had wracked the country was “shocking,” he said, and had been met with disappointment in quarters of the country’s ethnic communities.

“People expected her — as she is a Nobel Peace Prize winner — to say a few words to stop the bloodshed,” he said.

Ethnic conflict has been a recurring feature of Myanmar’s political landscape since it gained independence from Britain in 1948.

But following the 2011 transition from military rule to quasi-civilian governance, the country has witnessed a significant spike in violence targeting Muslims, with Buddhist extremists blamed for fanning the flames of hatred.

The Rohingya — a Muslim minority concentrated in impoverished Rakhine state in the west of the country — has borne the worst of it, prompting the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, to declare this month that the recent persecution of the group “could amount to crimes against humanity.” Myanmar presidential spokesman Ye Htut told CNN the government rejected the remarks.

Read the whole thing here.

I’ve written about Suu Kyi and the Rohingya, in this post and this one. In addition, I wrote a report about her first visit to the United States after release from house arrest (which I saw some of first-hand) for Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online two years ago.

  • M.G. ASEANIAN G. JAN

    Suu Kyi professes theravada Buddhism and the Rakhine extremists also confess the theravada Buddhism. That is why she has been silent at the expense of Rohingya chilren, old folks, and women being massacred in Arakan. The silence does not mean or imply her neutral position in the violence on Rohingyas as since injustice, killing and violence have been perpetuated on Rohingyas, she ought to influence the Rakhines to stop or at least decrease violence and or massacre on Rohingyas. Being Members of Parliament, the wind of hatred on Rohingyas in Arakan has touched her as she is a Theravada Buddhist either


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