HUMAN rights activist Malala Yousafzai has called on fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the “shameful” treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Burma and put an end to violence in Rakhine State.
The 20-year-old, who survived being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan, said her “heart breaks” when she hears of the suffering of the minority group and questioned, if Burma is not their home, “then where is it?”
In the statement released on Twitter on Monday, Malala called on Burma to grant citizenship to the Rohingya people who have lived in the region for generations but are still considered by many in the Buddhist majority country to be illegal immigrants.
— Malala (@Malala) September 3, 2017
Burma’s de facto leader Suu Kyi has remained noticeably silent on the issue of Rohingya persecution leaving many to see her as complicit in the abuses being carried out by the military.
Through the statement, Malala asked Suu Kyi her to denounce the violence that has risen in recent weeks.
“Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting,” she said.
The Rohingya have faced decades of persecution in Burma, whose government continues to deny the group official documents essentially rendering the group stateless.
Fresh violence erupted over a week ago in a dramatic escalation of the conflict that has simmered since October when Rohingya insurgents allegedly carried out attacks on border checkpoints. Though Burmese authorities have not found the culprits that left nine officers dead, the army started what it called “clearance operations” to “restore the rule of law” in Rakhine villages near the border with Bangladesh.
The latest clashes come after insurgents made coordinated attacks against series of security posts. This prompted an army crackdown that has proven to one of the deadliest bouts of violence in decades.
Aid agencies estimate that about 73,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh from Burma in the last week, Vivian Tan, regional spokeswoman for UN refugee agency UNHCR, told Reuters on Sunday.
Nearly 400 people are believed to have been killed. Eyewitness accounts have emerged of the army beheading and burning people alive fuelling claims the Burmese military is committing genocide.
Soldiers reportedly arrested a large group of Rohingya men in the village of Chut Pyin in Rathedaung township, marched them into a nearby bamboo hut, and set it on fire, burning them to death, rights group Fortify Rights said on Friday.
Suu Kyi has faced growing international criticism for her failure to stop the attacks and for the inflammatory online statements coming from her “information committee” that have stoked public anger against the wider Rohingya population and aid workers in the country.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned the former political prisoner on Saturday that the violence was “besmirching” the reputation of her country.
“Aung Sang Suu Kyi is rightly regarded as one of the most inspiring figures of our age but the treatment of the Rohingya is alas besmirching the reputation of Burma,” he said.