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Friday, November 16, 2012
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Suu Kyi declines to back Rohingyas

Says 'illegal immigration from Bangladesh' must be stopped

Even as the country accommodates thousands of Rohingyas despite its own population and poverty problems, Aung San Suu Kyi says illegal immigration from Bangladesh has to be stopped.

Suu Kyi, on a visit to neighbouring India, yesterday said she had declined to speak out on behalf of stateless Rohingya Muslims who live on both sides of the border because she wanted to promote reconciliation after the recent bloodshed.

More than 1,00,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar since June in two major outbreaks of violence in the western state of Rakhine.

But, for Bangladesh, the intrusion of Rohingyas from Myanmar is nothing new. It has already become a common feature of the bordering area at Teknaf since their first influx as refugees in 1978.

The country has sent back around 2,36,490 Rohingya refugees from 1992 to 2004.

It now accommodates around 29,000 registered Rohingya refugees, although different estimates suggest the number of the Myanmarese minorities unofficially living in and around Cox's Bazar ranges between 2.5 and 5 lakh.

"Don't forget that violence has been committed by both sides. This is why I prefer not to take sides and also I want to work towards reconciliation," she told NDTV news channel.

"Is there a lot of illegal crossing of the border [with Bangladesh] still going on? We have got to put a stop to it. Otherwise there will never be an end to the problem."

"Bangladesh will say all these people have come from Burma [Myanmar] and the Burmese say all these people have come over from Bangladesh."

The Nobel laureate, who was released from military-imposed house arrest in 2010, has faced criticism from human rights groups for her muted response to the ethnic violence in her homeland, reports AFP.

"This is a huge international tragedy and this is why I keep saying that the government must have a policy about their citizenship laws," she said.

Nicholas Farrelly, a Myanmar expert at Australian National University, told AFP that Suu Kyi's comments reflected domestic opinion.

"If she makes a mis-step, she could alienate her political base which is reluctant to have anything to do with the Rohingya," he said.

"She appears to be pivoting away from international human rights groups and is echoing sentiments inside Myanmar.

"Leaders in Myanmar feel international support flowing towards the Rohingya is inappropriate and that it misunderstands the situation."

Myanmar's 800,000 Rohingya are seen by the government and many in the country as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. They face severe discrimination that activists say has led to a deepening alienation.

"There are quarrels about whether people are true citizens under law or whether they have come over as migrants later from Bangladesh," Suu Kyi said.

"The security of the border surely is the responsibility of both countries."

The Rohingya, who make up the vast majority of those displaced in the recent fighting, are described by the UN as among the world's most persecuted minorities.

Suu Kyi, who is now a member of parliament after dramatic changes overseen by a quasi-civilian regime that took power last year, dismissed criticism that her response to the unrest in Rakhine had been inadequate.

"I am not ambivalent about my views on violence; violence is something that I abhor completely," she said.

"All those entitled to citizenship under the laws must be given citizenship, we say this very clearly."

Representatives of the Rohingya say their people have been in Myanmar for centuries but their ethnic history is the subject of fierce dispute.

US President Barack Obama's visit to Myanmar next week will underline the end of the country's pariah status since the recent reforms were initiated.

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Denying the rights of the people for their color, creed, and ethnic background is a xenophobic crime. Now after all these forceful eviction, burning, wholesale killing and especially when the savagery is bleeding the hearts of the people across the nations in all continents, Suu Kyi's silence and failure to stand on taking the right side is deeply disturbing, shocking and generating unyielding anger. When she was struggling in her own country, I thought she learned a hard lesson as how the development efforts and dignity of a nation is eroded by misrule and lack of adhering the principle of justice. Now my hope is dashed- she learned nothing. Just a reminder-playing with fire is dangerous and shall remain dangerous. The resolution of peace loving people around the globe to do the just is far more stronger than what Suu kyi is preaching now.

: Jumana Sarwar

Suu Kyi declines to back Rohingyas: My very first reaction to her ethnocentric values is as follows: The Norwegian Nobel Committee must examine candidate inner principle, values and rationality etc. before awarding someone the Nobel Peace Prize.

: Asad Zaman


  • Dr Naim Islam
    Friday, November 16, 2012 06:26 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    I think: Aung San Suu Kyi, she is no better than the rulers of Burma. They all represent the system. Like Hasina, Khaleda, Benezir they all are part of a system which is based on oppression. Changing the face of the leader is not enough, we need to change the system. In Britain, Prime Minister is part of the system and system tries its level best to run fairly and all of them are answerable and accountable to the people. I didn't think a Noble Peace prize makes someone equal to Mandela or Gandhiji.

  • mujibul alam khan
    Friday, November 16, 2012 07:42 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    A Nobel Peace Prize winner loosing to communal hatred!Shame.

  • niloufar sarker
    Friday, November 16, 2012 08:51 AM GMT+06:00 (169 weeks ago)

    According to this report her stance against the Rohingyas' is for domestic consumption only.She was awarded Nobel for Peace & it's a shame she could not rise above her political ambition.





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