Aung San Suu Kyi urged to play role in solving Rohingya problem

Aung San Suu Kyi urged to play role in solving Rohingya problem
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Experts on international relations and immigration have urged Aung San Suu Kyi to take part in campaigning to return citizenship and rights to the Burmese Rohingya.

They said she was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and held a powerful position in Myanmar.

They also suggested that Thailand and ASEAN countries work to convince Myanmar not to export the Rohingya problem to other countries and to solve it at origin by recognising the Rohingya as Myanmar citizens and protecting their rights.

The suggestions for solving transnational human trafficking and Rohingya boat people problems were discussed in the public forum held by the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) on the topic "Asia's New 'Boat People' Crisis: Regionalisation, regulation, regionalism" at Chulalongkorn University yesterday.

Gwen Robinson, ISIS Thailand Senior Fellow, commented that Aung San Suu Kyi had acted as a politician more than a Nobel Peace Prize winner by remaining silent on the Royingya problem.

"The upcoming Myanmar general election is near, so it can be expected no politician will mention anything about giving citizenship to the Rohingya minority," Gwen said.

She explained that the Rohingya problem was a very sensitive issue within Myanmar because of radical Buddhist activism, which was spreading religious conflict between majority Buddhist Burmese and the Muslim Rohingya.

"The Myanmar domestic political circumstance - which is dominated by a 75 per cent Buddhist majority - almost ensures we will not see any significant action out of the government or anyone - including Aung San Suu Kyi, the one voice in Myanmar who might have the moral authority to speak out and comment," she said.

Former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya also said that he was deeply disappointed with the silence of Aung San Suu Kyi, as she should be a protector of human rights and democracy.

"As the Nobel Prize winner, she should have done more than this [as a politician]. She should promote human rights and democracy not only in Myanmar but around the world," Kasit said.

He urged nine ASEAN countries, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to pressure Burmese ambassadors around the world and at the UN to tackle the Rohingya question.

It was the country's responsibility to give nationality and rights to those people and not to export problems to neighbouring countries, he said.

The President of the Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand, Maung Kyaw Nu, said all Rohingya refugees were willing to go home.

"If the Myanmar government recognised our people and gave [us] our rights, the problem would be solved," Maung said.

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.