Letters and Editorials 877 Views Peter Tremblay

Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi defends against genocide at Peace Palace



Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has done the unthinkable and the most abhorrent thing as she recently defended Myanmar against accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing. The Nobel Peace laureate was at the International Court of Justice. The case was opened at The Hague tribunal following a petition by the small African country of Gambia. Unfortunately, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s cold-hearted defense did not only rubbish the provisions of international law, but it also gave a very skewed account of the attacks unleashed by the military against defenseless women, children and men.

She vociferously defended the actions of the army while pointing to the actions of those she called militant Muslims summing up the entire tragedy as an ‘internal armed conflict’. She also added that it was imperative for the military to tackle all those she referred to as terrorists or insurgents. Nothing was more heartbreaking than hear these words spill from the mouth of a winner of the world’s most prestigious peace prize. The mindless brutality and savagery unleashed upon the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar is a well-documented genocide and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. But all she did was to insist that the Myanmar generals were right to combat counterinsurgency and counterterrorism.

However, Ms. Kyi was clearly been dishonest because there is no way anyone can justify genocide and ethnic cleansing as the appropriate reaction to tiny insurgency movements. Back in the middle of 2017, hundreds of thousands of terrified Rohingya Muslims fled to southern Bangladesh as the military launched waves of attacks against their settles. More than 700,000 streamed into Bangladesh on perilous land and water routes.

The exodus has been years in the making. Years of discrimination by the Buddhist majority in the country led to the formation of a Rohingya-led insurgent group which was fingered as being behind fatal attacks against some members of the armed forces of Myanmar. What followed as a response from the government of Myanmar is what has shocked the entire world. The government responded with so much brutality that not even babies were spared. Women were savagely raped, entire villages burnt and destroyed and soldiers shot practically anyone at sight.

The United Nations spoke out against the relentless attacks in July 2018 when the body denounced the response of the government as ethnic cleansing. But it did not seem that the generals of Myanmar were bothered at all. Using the pretext of suppressing an armed insurgency, the military of Myanmar has stepped up a genocidal strategy aimed at wiping out every single Rohingya Muslim from the predominantly Buddhist country.

In a most disgraceful manner, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is using the same lines of argument by the generals to justify what is glaringly a crime against humanity. For those who once saw her as an icon for humanity, justice, and fairness, it is a massive disappointment. It is therefore, no surprise that many are already calling that she be stripped of the Nobel Peace prize so as to protect the sanctity and prestige of the award.


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