Aung San Suu Kyi faces further EU criticism

Written by Martin Banks on 19 September 2017 in News

Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has again faced criticism, this time after she claimed Myanmar had nothing to fear from international scrutiny.

Aung San Suu Kyi | Photo credit: Press Association

The speech followed mounting pressure on the Nobel and Sakharov prize-winner Suu Kyi to speak out against the persecution of her country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. The military attacks and razing of villages have been condemned by United Nations officials as ethnic cleansing.

More than 400,000 Rohingya are now estimated to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

In a speech on Monday, Suu Kyi said, “I’m aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine state. As a responsible member of the community of nations Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny.”

“There have been allegations and counter-allegations. We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.”

However, UK Tory MEP Amjad Bashir, currently in Bangladesh himself to see meet Rohingya refugees and hear their stories, said, “Much of Suu Kyi's speech was calculated to sound soothing without actually committing to any intervention in the crisis and without any measures to rein in the military.

“Any helpful points were undermined by her claim that the authorities have no idea why Rohingya are fleeing.

“She is her country’s primary political figure. It beggars belief that she is unaware of what is happening. Can she not see the blood or smell the smoke?”

Bashir has led moves in the European Parliament to impose sanctions on Myanmar and strip Suu Kyi of her Sakharov Prize if the Rohingya persecution is not halted.

ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt last week branded Suu Kyi a “disgrace” after an earlier pronouncement that the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar was a “mix of untruths and victim-blaming.”

Bashir said, “If this was Su Kyi’s attempt to shake off that personal criticism she has fallen well short.”

Further criticism on Tuesday came from Amnesty International, which said Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech showed the leader and her government were “burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine state.

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims that her government does not fear international scrutiny ring hollow,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s regional director for south-east Asia.


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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