EU prize for Human Rights silent over persecution of Muslims
Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Sui Kyi, arrived in Strasbourg today to finally collect the EU Sakharov prize which was awarded to her 13 years ago. However the mass persecution of the minority Rohingya Muslim community and her silence on the issue still casts a dark shadow over the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The world’s most iconic political prisoner was awarded the EU human rights prize in 1990, however after 15 years of being imprisoned in her own home, she was unable to receive the prize due to fear of being exiled from her home country.
Ms Sui Kyi, recently elected to the Burmese opposition and in the running to be the country’s next president, is currently on a European tour with visits to London scheduled next week.
However the long silence of Miss Sui Kyi on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims has cast a shadow on her political career. Many were dismayed by the iconic figure who chose to turn her back on the Rohingya who are regarded by the UN as “one of the most persecuted minorities in the world”.
Conservative Legal Affairs spokesperson and vocal human rights advocate, Sajjad Karim, spoke from Strasbourg. He said:
“The courage and dedication of Aung San Sui Kyi to bring democracy to the people of Burma is dutifully recognised by awarding her the EU Sakharov prize. She is one of the true champions of democracy.
“However as the world looked to her for moral leadership on the bloodshed and expulsion of 125,000 Rohingya Muslims which took place in her own country, she stood silent. Her lack of words was deafening.
“Her blind spot regarding the persecution of the Rohinya community, who have lived for generations in West Burma, is highly alarming for a person of her stature.”
In 2012 violent riots broke out in the Rakhine state between Buddhists and the Muslim minority, where the minority were forcibly segregated and put into camps often out of reach from aid agencies. Government forces were often complicit in the attacks and the Rohingya continue to remain stateless.