Suu Kyi to lead effort on Myanmar’s restive Rakhine State


Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi will lead a new effort to bring peace and development to Rakhine State where violence between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims in recent years has cast a cloud over progress on democratic reforms, Reuters reports:

Suu Kyi, who holds the office of state counselor, will lead a new Central Committee for Implementation of Peace and Development in Rakhine State, the President’s Office said in an online announcement on Tuesday. The group will consist of 27 officials, including all cabinet ministers…..

Suu Kyi campaigned in the south of the state before a November election that her party won, but she avoided the state capital, Sittwe, and has never visited the camps for people displaced in the violence.

Her reluctance to speak out against the Rohingya’s plight has been sharply criticized by rights groups. There is widespread hostility towards Rohingya Muslims in the Buddhist-majority country, including among some within Suu Kyi’s party and its supporters. This month, Suu Kyi said the country needed “enough space” do deal with the issue and cautioned against the use of “emotive terms”, that she said were making the situation more difficult.

There’s a certain irony in the fact that Wai Wai Nu (right) has met President Barack Obama, but not her other hero, Anna Nemtsova writes for The Daily Beast:

If only Wai Wai could one day meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, she knows what she would say: “I think I would tell her that her vision for our country turning democratic will only be a success when everyone has a chance to participate in the process, everyone should have opportunity to have access to the process,” Wai Wai told The Daily Beast. “Rohingya should have equal rights, too—she might already know this, but I would like to remind her.”

Wai Wai Nu was a recipient of the World Movement for Democracy’s Democracy Courage Tribute at its 2015 Seoul Assembly.

The UNDP-led mission in Myanmar has come under criticism for inadvertently abetting a system of government-sponsored discrimination against the country’s minority Rohingya population, and failing to speak forthrightly enough about abuses against the group, Foreign Policy reported:

More than 100,000 Rohingya have fled the country in recent years, and those that remain face pervasive discrimination.

“The U.N. Secretary General’s ‘Human Rights Up Front’ doctrine was aimed at helping the U.N. system and others learn from the mistakes of Sri Lanka (among others) and avoid allowing this subservient attitude toward the state become an excuse for aiding and abetting abuses,” stated a confidential October 2015 independent report, commissioned by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and obtained by FP. “It is difficult to see that learning in this respect is happening effectively….The situation bears a striking resemblance to the humanitarian community’s systemic failure in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka.”

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