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Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu appeals to Suu Kyi to intervene

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu appeals to Suu Kyi to intervene

Naypyidaw - Burma's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has lashed out at "misinformation" from "terrorists" amid reports that the State Counsellor of Myanmar has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Suu Kyi has come under fire from the global community because of the latest atrocities targeting Muslims in Myanmar. Like many of her admirers, I was also hoping that she would rise against all odds and establish the fact that humanity would flourish.

Actually, the time for waiting has passed.

She is one of six people who have ever received honorary Canadian citizenship. They use "the combination of human rights violations, and deliberate impoverishment, to force Rohingyas to leave".

Few Canadians know of the Rohingya and their plight in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). In her decades as a dissident, she denounced the military junta's crushing of minority identities and rights. She then went on to steer the National League for Democracy through the country's first internationally recognized elections since independence. They have been segregated in the Rakhine state and denied education and freedom of movement.

The Myanmar government claims about 400 have been killed so far, though United Nations officials estimate the death toll at more than 1,000.

The armed forces in Myanmar retain powerful positions - and it is hard for Suu Kyi to exercise control over them.

"We have never missed an opportunity to express our concerns on behalf of our government, but frankly, also on behalf of Canadians, who are watching what is happening over there and are expressing deep concern about the targeting of ethnic minorities, including the Rohingya".

Refugees walk to the shore of Bay of Bengal after crossing Myanmar border
Refugees walk to the shore of Bay of Bengal after crossing Myanmar border

"To be clear, there is not even a scintilla of doubt about the fact that millions of Rohingya have been unjustly stripped of the citizenship, with many burned out of their homes, businesses and villages, herded into camps, denied the right to Wednesday, to practice their faith, and left unable to get education, basic health care, and even decent food", he stated.

President Donald Trump, by contrast, does not appear to have spoken with Suu Kyi, who skipped a roundtable meeting of Southeast Asian leaders with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in May because of scheduling conflicts.

Suu Kyi seems to have a phobia about Islam.

But despite her ascent in Burmese political life, she has remained largely silent on the Rohingya minority, who are not recognised as citizens of the country. "It is our duty and we try our best", she said.

Muslim Rohingya refugees claim Myanmar soldiers sometimes accompanied by Buddhist fighters are forcing them to leave their homes. In their hunt for the militants, the distribution of food, shelter and much-needed materials has been stopped.

When asked whether or not his government would take back Canada's special recognition of Suu Kyi on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skirted the question by calling the humanitarian situation "terrible" and "extremely preoccupying".

"Her action shows that she is cruel and inhumane". After all, she was the one who retaliated by saying - "It is not power that corrupts, but fear".

Grassroots petitions to revoke Ms Suu Kyi's Nobel Prize are unlikely to yield a result. The other is Aung San Suu Kyi.

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