Muslims that reside in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar face nothing more than discrimination and sinister acts of violence. Potentially 300,000 Muslims could be subjected to relocation, due to clearance procedures conducted by the armed forces of Myanmar.
In a whole-hearted letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on the Myanmar leader to abolish the dispute against the Muslim community of Rohingya.
The 85-year old Nobel laureate’s letter reads:
“I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness,”
“For years I had a photograph of you on my desk to remind me of the injustice and sacrifice you endured out of your love and commitment for Myanmar’s people. You symbolised righteousness.
“Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated.
“It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain.
“As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again. We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been suffering from prostate cancer for almost two decades and has largely been withdrawn from political ties up until this point.
Echoing Tutu’s voice is the world’s youngest ever peace prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. In speaking about the Rohingya crisis, the 20-year old told the BBC:
"We can't be silent right now. The number of people who have been displaced is hundreds of thousands,"
"I think we can't even imagine for a second what it's like when your citizenship, your right to live in a country, is completely denied," she also added.
Leader Aung San Suu Kyi has recently expressed her opinions towards the Rakhine crisis, which has so far seen approximately 400 Muslims being killed, although UN officials anticipate that the numbers go up to more than 1,000.
“It is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months,” she said. “The situation in Rakhine has been such since many decades. It goes back to pre-colonial times.”
Furthermore, in a recent Facebook post, Suu Kyi made the allegation that the discrimination of the Muslim community of Rohingya is exaggerated as a result of false information.
"It is not just a matter of ethnic cleansing. It is a matter of people on different sides of a divide, and this divide we are trying to close up. As best as possible and not to widen it further.
"It is Muslims killing Muslims, as well”, the leader said.
Nevertheless, a UN investigation into the treatment of Muslims in Rohingya has been under commencement since March.
Sources – The Guardian, News24, The Straits Times