2017’s Fallen Angel

In the first three weeks alone, Médecins Sans Frontières treated over 250 newly arrived patients with violence-related injuries. Their injuries included bullet wounds, severe burns, blast wounds, stab wounds and sexual violence. Médecins Sans Frontières website

Heroine turned hypocrite?

By Roger Childs

Late last century she was on a par with Mother Theresa as the most respected woman on the planet. The Oslo gurus awarded her the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and this was greeted with thunderous acclamation.

Aung San Suu Kyi was the voice of democracy in Burma/Myanmar leading the campaign to  end military rule and restore constitutional government.

However, having at long last achieved her goal to lead the country, Suu Kyi has now betrayed her principles by failing to protect the rights of the Myanmar’s Rohingya communities.

Getting rid of “undesirables”

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority living in a predominantly Buddhist nation. There have been tensions simmering for some years, however in 2016 the army started an ethnic cleansing operation designed to drive the Rohingya over the border into Islamic Bangladesh.

In August of this year, the military stepped up their actions and conducted a wave of attacks on Rohingya communities. Villages have been destroyed, people killed and women raped. An estimated 700,000 have now fled across the western frontier.

That there have been atrocities is not in doubt and include the slaughter of many children.

Suu Kyi’s indifference

Rohingya refugees crossing into Bangladesh. (Credit Daily Mail)

She is the effective ruler of Myanmar and the Foreign Minister. Once the campaign to drive the Rohingya out of the country got underway, the United Nations (UN) wanted to follow up the many reports of mistreatment. But Suu Kyi would not allow the UN investigators into the area.

She has rejected foreign criticism of the “operation” with the comment: No-one can fully understand the situation of our country the way we do. Then in September she said: More than 50% of the villages of Muslims are intact.

Her office also used the extraordinarily insensitive term fake rape about reports of Rohingya women and girls being assaulted.

World reaction to the fallen idol

There has been widespread criticism of her indifference of the plight of the Rohingya and many commentators see her

The Burmese leader stands condemned

as being complicit in crimes against humanity. Oxford University has withdrawn the Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law granted to her in 2012 and there have been suggestions from many groups that other awards given by numerous nations be rescinded. Some Nobel Laureates feel that the Peace Prize should be withdrawn.

This month, Pramila Patten, A special UN envoy who investigates sexual violence in conflict, has been able to speak with the Myanmar leader,  but Aung San Suu Kyi would not discuss the reports of women and girls being gang raped.

Once seen as a courageous fighter against authoritarian rule and oppression, Suu Kyi has seemingly joined the ranks of leaders who condone violence against” undesirables” within their borders.

In the words of Washington Post journalist, Christian Caryl: The Rohingya crisis leaves a leader the world lionised, being accused of betraying ideals she once stood for.