▲ Aung San Suu Kyi has taken criticism over the issue of the Rohingya people
▲ Starving Rohingya refugees
The Rohingya are one of Myanmar's 135 minorities. There are about 2 million Rohingya people who live in the western state of Rakhine and most are Muslim. However, Myanmar is a Buddhist country where 89 percent of the population believes in Buddhism. That's why the Rohingya are the most discriminated people among Myanmar's ethnic minorities, and there is a deep religious conflict with the Myanmar government. After independence from British colonization, the military regime, which started the coup did not recognize the Rohingya as natives. School classes banned the Rohingya language. They also did not have the freedom to move. In short, the Rohingya people are not citizens of Myanmar. They are still very oppressed. Some escape to neighboring Bangladesh to avoid violence. However, Bangladesh cannot accept all these people because of poor economic conditions.
The Rohingya began to arm themselves against this horrible reality. On August 25, 2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked a police guard post against the military authorities. 32 military officers were killed at that time. Later, the military aggravated their crackdown on the Rohingya. UN inspections estimated that 10,000 people have been killed since August 2017. Myanmar's military has not only tortured people but also brutally killed the Rohingya and raped women and girls. To avoid such terrible oppression by Myanmar's military, 700,000 ethnic Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. In fact, satellite images show that 400 villages completely disappeared from the map. UN inspections called it “genocide” and demanded punishment to the country's military leader, who caused this incident.
It's been quite some time since the issue of "ethnic cleansing" by the military authority of Myanmar began. Despite this national crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Myanmar politician, has remained silent. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her continued struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar. She represents democracy in Myanmar and serves as secretary general of the National League for Democracy. The current president of Myanmar is from the same political party, so she has a political position in Myanmar.
However, she has remained ambiguous about her position on the military that brutally killed the Rohingya. The military even arrested journalists who were reporting the massacre of the Rohingya and sentenced them to seven years in prison. They suppressed the media and ignored criticism and demands from the international community. Nevertheless, Aung San Suu Kyi did not criticize the massacre of the Rohingya or the suppression of the press. Rather, she denied the news of the massacre of the Rohingya. Some in international society believe they should withdraw her Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, Canada passed an agreement to deprive Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship.
It can be difficult for her to make her position known in Myanmar, where the military is still strong. It is a situation in which one cannot make blind criticism against the military. This is her political dilemma. But the military's atrocities against the Rohingya cannot be justified. Many people were disappointed on her ambiguous position as it is a compromise with the military. It seems difficult to regain her trust. The international community needs to pay attention to how the issue develops.
Park-Seon Gyeong, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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