Myanmar’s government is facing widespread calls for its military to pay for the brutal treatment of the country’s Rohingya minority. But don’t expect any change from the country’s leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. She is standing with military leaders—even after last week’s shocking conviction and imprisonment of two reporters who helped expose violence toward the Rohingya.
The Muslim Rohingya are a people without a country. Most live in chiefly Buddhist Myanmar in Southeast Asia. The Myanmar government doesn’t recognize the Rohingya as citizens and therefore denies them jobs, education, and freedom to move around the country. As many as 700,000 have fled into Bangladesh to avoid rioting and persecution in their adopted country. The United Nations calls them “one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.”
Myanmar denies any large-scale human rights violations against the Rohingya. It says its violent actions are a response to attacks by Rohingya militants last year.
Suu Kyi’s lack of action against culprits of the Rohingya violence confuses observers. Some say she is powerless to do much because of the strength of Myanmar’s military.
Others say Suu Kyi’s hardness toward the plight of the Rohingya—and hostility toward anyone wishing to discuss the issue —don’t agree with the storyline of her versus the military. (Suu Kyi previously spent nearly 15 years under house arrest as a political prisoner when the military ruled Myanmar.)
Khin Zaw Win, a critic of Myanmar’s government, says both Suu Kyi and the military are afraid of “the world out there finding the truth and seeking to unseat them.”
On Friday, an International Criminal Court ruled that it will investigate the driving of Rohingya from their homes. Not surprisingly, Myanmar is rejecting the court’s authority.
You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him. —Exodus 22:21
(AP Photo: Aung San Suu Kyi, left, walks with senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s commander-in-chief.)