Breaking news: June 29, 2012

Breaking news: June 29, 2012

http://kaladanpress.org/v3/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3724%3Acrisis-in-arakan-state-burma-highlighted-in-british-parliament&catid=

Sours from by Kaladanpress;

Friday, 29 June 2012 14:32

 

No relief for Rohingya in Maungdaw

Two helicopters with relief goods arrived yesterday in Maungdaw and all the relief goods are kept in Myoma monastery where the relief goods were distributed to the Rakhines who are not taking shelter as refugees. Most Rakhines have homes and foods but they receive the relief from distribution centers. The authority setup three centers in Maungdaw – Myoma monastery, Myo Oo Pagoda monastery and Ward number 5 junctions “Community hall for Buddha religious purposes.”

The relief goods are not distributed to the Rohingya community and has no plan to distribute relief to them. Most of the Rohingya community who are living inside town and nearby town are facing foods shortage and some become starvation which will be danger for this community in the future and will die.

Still not able to pray Juma  in Maungdaw

Maungdaw authorities are still blocking Rohingya community to pray Juma in the Mosques in Maungdaw Township.

Authority extracts forced labor to build new Natala villages

The concerned authorities forcibly extract forced labor from Rohingya community to build new Natala villages where the concerned authority paid only 1000 kyat and one kilogram of rice per day where normally one labor gets more than 2000 kyat. No foods or water are provided during the working period.

Crisis in Arakan State, Burma highlighted in British Parliament

Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:49

 

Chittagong, Bangladesh: The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Arakan State, western Burma, was highlighted in the British Parliament on June 27 at a meeting chaired by Baroness Kinnock, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

In the meeting of British lawmakers chaired by Baroness Kinnock, Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Maung Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, and Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, described the situation of Rohingya in Arakan State.

Near 4000 Rohingyas have been killed in the sectarian violence, at least 40000 are missing, 22 villages have been burned down, more than 120 females were rape and 14 mosques destroyed, according to sources. But, the official said only around 80 people –Rohingya and Rakhine- killed in the sectarian violence.

The current sectarian unrest has been influenced by hardliners in the government who do not want to see reforms in Burma, and the Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP), which reject Rohingya as members of Burma’s ethnic groups, according to Tun Khin. “Tthere have been an increasing number of anti-Rohingya activities, including seminars in Rangoon and in Arakan State organized by the RNDP in recent months.”

Bangladesh has refused entry to Rohingyas at its borders, and has pushed back at least 16 boats seeking access to Bangladesh.

“We really need U.N. observers in Arakan (Rakhine) State. Even though the riots were stopped some Rohingya houses are still being burned down by Rakhines… We urge the British government to put effective pressure on the Burmese regime to stop the killings and violence against the Muslim Rohingyas in Arakan and to restore peace and security in the region, to allow the international community and NGOs to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to all the victims regardless of race or religion,”  The BROUK president said at the meeting.

Tun Khin urged Britain to pressure the Burmese government to provide security to ensure Rohingya can safely return to their homes, for Bangladesh to open its borders to refugees fleeing persecution, for the government to offer citizenship to Rohingya who qualify and to fight against anti-Muslim activities and racism in the country.

Benedict Rogers said, “CSW appeals, as a matter of utmost urgency, to the security forces, authorities and people in Arakan State to stop the violence immediately and to begin the long, hard work of addressing the underlying issues, rebuilding shattered lives and engaging in inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation. We urge the international community, including the British Government, the European Union and the United States, to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to all the victims of the recent violence, regardless of ethnicity or religion and without discrimination. We join others in the international community in calling upon the Government of Burma, the National League for Democracy and all political parties in Burma to support the repeal of the 1982 Citizenship Law, which does not recognise the citizenship of the Rohingya people, who have lived in Burma for generations, and for it to be replaced with a new law based on principles of human rights and equality and in accordance with international law. We call on the Government of Burma to protect and defend religious freedom and to ensure that the human rights of all the peoples of Burma are protected and respected.”

 

 

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Causalities in Sittwe/Akyab city (8-22 June) / (Rohingya population about 150,000, Rakhine population- 200,000)

Sours from ; By NDPHR(exile),

 

Sheet1
Page 1
Name of Village Native Destructions Death tool Attack day
burn &destroyed all 50 houses 1 Mosque at least 7 9,10
burn &destroyed all 33 houses 1 Mosque About 35 10, 15
burn &destroyed all 100 houses 3 Mosque About 150 10, 15
burn &destroyed all 38 houses 1 Mosque About 30 10
Burn 20 houses unknown 12
Burn 50 houses 1 Mosque unknown 12
destroyed and burn 2+3 houses unknown 20
authority destruct to prevent fire-transmitting none 12
fire transmitted 3 houses and a brewery store none 12
burn all about 100 houses 1 Mosque unknown 12
burn all around 100 2 mosques from unknown 10,16
houses from these these areas including About 15 10,16
3 areas 1 ancient mosque About 22 10,16
burn all around more than
400 houses from 7 mosques from 100 9,10
These 6 areas these 7 areas from these
6 areas
burn about 50 houses none 10
none (resisted) at least 6 9,10
burn all 18 houses 3 Mosque in 85 10, 11
burn all about 200 houses these two areas 150 10,11
burn all thousands of houses
at least 7 mosques All
Including 2 about 8500 11
Destroy & burn ancient mosques
burn some 50 houses 25 10,11
little damage unknown 11
burn some houses unknown 18
breaking 100s of shops none 11
Causalities in Sittwe/Akyab city (8-22 June) / (Rohingya population about 150,000, Rakhine population- 200,000)
Zay Haung Maw Leik (Rohingya Fara) Rohingya&Kaman
Shwe Bya village, Myoathugyi quarter Rohingya&Kaman
Paik Tay village, Myoathugyi quarter Rohingya&Kaman
Mi Zan quarter, near Baluma Bridge Rohingya&Kaman
Aungmingla/ Ambarlar Area:
the edge of Thaban Street and street-side Rohingya
Chin Byan street (Hundhikhawla), Rohingya
Minbargyi Road and street beside College Rohingya & Kaman
Kyaung Tat Lan (behind BEHS-1) Hindhu (a few)
Kyaung Gyi Lan (behinf BEHS-1) Rakhine (a few)
Kartih village Rohingya & Kaman
Ye New Su quarter (Derum Fara)
Ma Kyi Myine ( Buhar Fara) Rohingya
Palot Taung (Holton)
Bu May group: (Furun Fara)
Wayalis (Walsih Fara), Latama (Misiri-dil)
Nadikya Fara, Arzimya Fara Rohingya
Don Byan (Dua Mraung), U Yin Tha area
Min Gan village Rakhine 1 Monastry
Takkay Byin (Sakki Fara) Rohingya
West Sanpya (Barsara) near Sittwe Point Rohingya
East Sanpya (Barsara) near Golf mart Rohingya
Nazi village area (consisting 12 wards):
Nazi, Set Yon Su, Foktoli, Shunduri, Rohingya
Kondan, Waa-dan (Baish fara), Neya fara Rohingya&Kaman
Santoli , behind Sittwe Lake Rohingya
Shabok Rohingya
Myu-Kul, (opposite of Sittwe, Sandama side) Rohingya
Sittwe Central Market and Pozu Bazzar Rohingya

Update Arakan and RNDP’s open letter

By NDPHR(exile),
Sittwe township:
Yesterday morning on 28 June, 5 Rohingya women from Aungmingala quarter who went to the market of Sittwe to buy foods after starved for two weeks, were brutally beaten by a group of Rakhine people and handed over to No(1) Police station by giving false statement. After police saw they were seriously injured, all five women were sent to hospital. One of them, sister of Soe Raza was died a hour later and the condition of the rest are still unknown.
It is also confirmed that the hospital staffs who are also Rakhines did treat them roughly because of muslim.
We are getting reports from Sittwe that the relief aids are delivering to Rakhine alone and homeless Rohingya people still face stavation and lack of medicine. Some Rohingyans were loaded to trucks and shifting to unknown locations. the source also confirmed that some water tanks in Rohingya areas were found poisoned.
Rambre Township
29 June: A villager, Mr Hashim living in Australia confirmed the villagers are not yet returned to thier houses since some of their 21 houses in Tan Rwa village were burnt down and they dispersed into hiding from 10 June.
………………………………………….
The both attached files in Burmese Burmese version is the- Rakhine National democratic Party-RNDP’s declaration 
The below is shortly translation of it. 
“Party’s declaration after conflict relating to relocation”
04/2012, on 26 June 2012.
1) The riot occurred from 8 June causes to face intensive difficulty for national affairs.
2) This difficulties are in need to solve by the gov and corporately with public.
3) While Bengali immigrants had been settled into Rakhine state in continuity periods through various ways,  present population of Bengali causes threat for the whole Rakhine people and other ethnic people based on current occasion.
4) The historic remark of riot between Myanmar national and Bengali in 1942 later, there were several riots recurred in Rakhine state. We get known that this occasion in 2012 is much affected Rakhine people and the whole Myanmar economy rather than occasions in 1988, 1996, 2000.
5) Illegally settled Bengali are creating new name ‘Rohingya’ with fabricating history that propaganda of terrorising, are damaging the Rakhine people and national sovereignty. Our party view that it is require to solve by taking out of complete solution for Rakhine people’ safety and security for lives and property.
To solve like it, our party announce the following declaration;
1) To corporately manage security measures by the gov and public Rakhine in order to secure safety for the whole Rakhine people,
2) To temporarily relocate Bengali people to suitable places, in order not to reside mixxedly and closely the Rakhine and Bengali in Rakhine state territorial towns and villages.
3) All union of ethnic people to corporate to prevent the Bengali people’ trespassing and entering in various ways into the whole Myanmar including Rakhine state.
4) To transferred to relocate the non-Myanmar national Bengali to the third countries, by getting negotiation from UN and international.
……………………………..
The attached file-3, is newly created list for total causalities in Sittwe township that cover all destruction regardless of Rakhine or Rohingya or Kaman or Hindhu. Still to come for other towns.. So it will compare with your estimation. However it doesn’t cover number of injuries, some hundred of Rohingya who were lately detained to unknown and missing thousands of Rohingya those escaped by boats. Therefore the death tool will be much higher than we expect.

Latest News

 

Situation in Rakhine State ‘fragile’: U.N.

Situation in Rakhine State ‘fragile’: U.N.

Sours from Mizzima News;   Monday, 25 June 2012 09:44 Mizzima News
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The U.N. refugee agency said this weekend the security situation in Rakhine State in Burma is “tense and fragile,” with new reports of violence and displacement in the sectarian unrest.

The U.N. is reaching affected communities after it re-deployed a team to Sittwe to join other staff who remained in Rakhine State throughout the latest events, said the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) refugee agency.

The number of people estimated to have been affected by the violence continues to grow, with latest unofficial estimates close to 90,000, including those displaced and those too frightened to leave their homes. Initial estimates are that many could remain displaced for three months or longer, officials said.

There are now more than 70 sites for displaced people in the area, including camps and monasteries, said a U.N. spokesman.

“Our staff who have visited camps for both displaced communities in Sittwe have found children, women, elderly people and men sleeping on the ground, desperate for heavy tarpaulins, blankets and mosquito nets,” he said. “We are also concerned about possibility of outbreaks of disease because of poor water supplies and sanitation at a time when it is raining heavily.”

We have already distributed blankets, kitchen sets and plastic sheeting and mosquito nets to more than 4,500 people from our stocks in Maungdaw and Buthidaung,” he said.

Trucks with similar supplies for a further 9,000 people are on their way to Rakhine State, he said, with the first trucks due to reach Sittwe on Sunday.

“We would like to emphasize that we distribute humanitarian aid impartially on the basis of need, and on the basis of need only, regardless of the background and origin of the victims of the recent disturbances,” he said. Many of the refugees are Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in Burma. Many have tried to flee to Bangladesh, but have been turned back at the closed border.

“In the days ahead, anyone fleeing the situation in Myanmar or being pushed back will also face increasingly hazardous and rough seas, with swell heights reaching three to four metres in the northern part of the Bay of Bengal,” said a U.N. spokesperson.

Ethnic alliance rejects Rohingya as non-Burmese

Ethnic alliance rejects Rohingya as non-Burmese

Sours from Mizzima News; Thursday, 28 June 2012 12:49 Mizzima News
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A group of eight ethnic parties allied with Burma’s opposition movement said in a statement it does not consider Rohingya as a fellow ethnic minority. The statement supported a position the group adopted in 2005, according to a report on the Radio Free Asia website on Wednesday.

Rohingya refugees in a United Nations 
camp in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCRRohingya refugees in a United Nations camp in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR

“‘Rohingya’ is not to be recognized as a nationality,” said a statement by the National Democratic Front (NDF), saying it wanted its views to be known to “the people at home and in foreign lands” because of the sectarian violence that has erupted in Rakhine State, claiming nearly 80 lives since May 28.

Some 800,000 Rohingyas live in Burma, where the government considers them illegal immigrants and denies them citizenship. Most Burmese call Rohingya “Bengali.”

NDF Secretary Khun Oh told RFA, “Even before the current conflict, there has been frequent conflict between Rakhine and Bengalis,” referring to the Rohingyas as people from Bangladesh.

The NDF statement said the violence, which saw up to 3,000 homes and businesses burned, was a result of poor immigration regulations and enforcement.

However, Khun Oh told the news agency that some Rohingyas could be granted Burmese citizenship if they met appropriate qualifications, such as knowledge of the national language.

“Those who are already there, whether they came by the right [legal] means or not, and who meet qualifications for citizenship, should be granted it,” he was quoted as saying.

On July 15, Burmese President Thein Sein will travel to Bangladesh, which is home to up to 200,000 Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter there during the past decade, to discuss the Rohingya issue. Bangladesh has closed its borders in response to the unrest.

British lawmakers hear testimony on Rakhine State unrest

British lawmakers hear testimony on Rakhine State unrest

Sours from Mizzima News;  Thursday, 28 June 2012 12:59 Mizzima News
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Rohingya in Burma are being systematically persecuted by the government and denied basic human rights, the president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) told the British All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma on Wednesday.

BROUK President Tun Khin, along with Benedict Rogers, the East Asia Team Leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, described the situation of Rohingyas in Rakhine State at a meeting of British lawmakers chaired by Baroness Kinnock.

Tun Khin said the current sectarian unrest has been influenced by hardliners in the government who do not want to see reforms in Burma, and the Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP), which reject Rohingya as members of Burma’s ethnic groups. In recent months, there have been an increasing number of anti-Rohingya activities, including seminars in Rangoon and in Arakan State organized by the RNDP, Tun Khin said.

According to Tun Khin, at least 650 Rohingyas have been killed in the sectarian violence, and at least 1,200 are missing. Official government figures this week said up to 80 people died in the clashes including Buddhist and Muslims.

He said 22 villages have been burned down and 14 mosques destroyed. He noted that Bangladesh has refused entry to Rohingyas at its borders, and has pushed back at least 16 boats seeking access to Bangladesh. The curfew imposed by President Thein Sein has only been applied to Rohingyas and not Rakhine, he said.

Tun Khin said: “We really need U.N. observers in Arakan (Rakhine) State. Even though the riots were stopped some Rohingya houses are still being burned down by Rakhines… We urge the British government to put effective pressure on the Burmese regime to stop the killings and violence against the Muslim Rohingyas in Arakan and to restore peace and security in the region, to allow the international community and NGOs to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to all the victims regardless of race or religion.”

He asked Britain to pressure the Burmese government to provide security to ensure Rohingya can safely return to their homes, for Bangladesh to open its borders to refugees fleeing persecution, for the government to offer citizenship to Rohingya who qualify and to fight against anti-Muslim activities and racism in the country.

“There is a solution if the regime is willing to negotiate between the two communities,” he said.

12 aid workers detained in Rakhine State

12 aid workers detained in Rakhine State

Sours from Mizzima News ; Friday, 29 June 2012 12:38 Mizzima News
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Twelve aid workers representing the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders (DWB) have been detained in Rakhine State during the past few weeks, the U.N. said in Geneva on Thursday. U.N. officials met with Burma’s foreign minister on Tuesday in Naypyitaw, the capital, to discuss the detentions.

On June 16, Reuters news agency reported that police in Buthidaung Township for unknown reasons detained three U.N. staff, two from the U.N. refugee agency and one from the World Food Programme. All are Burmese nationals.

On June 12, Doctors Without Borders announced it had suspended its operations in parts of Rakhine State, saying that its staff members where unsafe in the area.

Official Burmese government figures say 79 people were killed in the sectarian violence that racked the region starting in June, driving tens of thousands of refugees to seek safe shelter. International and domestic aid agencies rushed into the area to offer food, shelter and medicine as the violence continued.

Unconfirmed reports said that one United Nations employee had been released. The U.N. said it is not clear why the workers had been detained.

Mizzima reported last week that the World Food Programme (WFP) had expanded distributions of emergency food supplies to thousands of people displaced by the inter-communal violence.

WFP estimated that there were to 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance and said it is preparing plans for a three-month food assistance operation that will require additional support from donors. In recent days, reports say some refugees have begun returning home, but they have expressed fears for their safety.

On June 18, Doctors Without Borders announced it had been forced to suspend its operations in the area.

In Rakhine (Arakan) State, DWB has provided medical services for 20 years focusing on maternal health and infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the  emergency, the return to a safe environment is needed to get MSF programmes back on track for longer-term health and well-being of people from all communities throughout the state, said the non-profit health service.

Suu Kyi asks British MPs for practical help

Suu Kyi asks British MPs for practical help

Sours From Mizzima News;  Friday, 22 June 2012 10:48 Mizzima News
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On her European tour – after delivering speeches filled with inspiration, reflection and nostalgia – Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a pragmatic speech before a joint session of the British Parliament on Thursday in London.

Aung San Suu Kyi enters Westminster Hall accompanied by Mr. Speaker
 and the Lord Speaker. Photo: UK Parliament / Roger HarrisAung San Suu Kyi enters Westminster Hall accompanied by Mr. Speaker and the Lord Speaker. Photo: UK Parliament / Roger Harris

After meeting Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, she spoke in Westminster Hall, built in 1097, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster. She is now only the second woman after Queen Elizabeth to address both houses of Britain’s Parliament, a rare honor.

She asked the British MPs to help rebuild a crippled Burma – in infrastructure, in business sectors, in the rule of law and in education as a way to invest in Burma’s future.

“I am here in part to ask for practical help, help as a friend and an equal, in support of the reforms which can bring better lives, greater opportunities, to the people of Burma who have been for so long deprived of their rights and their place in the world,” she said.

Help is needed, she said, because: “Our own determination can get us so far. The support of the people of Britain and of peoples around the world can get us so much further.”

She noted that after Burma gained independence from Britain it had been called, “The country most likely to succeed in South East Asia.”

“Things did not, however, go entirely to plan,” she said. “They often don’t in Burma, and indeed in the rest of the world. Now once again we have an opportunity to establish true democracy in Burma. It is an opportunity for which we have waited many decades.”

“If we do not use this opportunity, if we do not get things right this time around, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again,” she said.

The opposition leader praised Burmese President Thein Sein’s “sincerity” in taking steps towards reform.

Visiting the Burmese Parliament recently to be sworn in, she said its atmosphere was “rather formal.”

“There is certainly no heckling. I would wish that over time perhaps we would reflect the liveliness and relative informality of Westminster.”

To laughter, she quipped: “I am not unaware of the saying that more tears have been shed over wishes granted than wishes denied.”

“Nevertheless, it is when Burma has its own satisfactory equivalent of Prime Minister’s Questions that we will be able to say that parliamentary democracy has truly come of age.”

She said she hoped that Britain would help in developing Burmese education, which was “too narrow” and needed reform after years of decay because of a military regime that distrusted and feared students.

British businesses could also help the reform process in Burma through “democracy-friendly investment,” she said.

“By this I mean investment that prioritizes transparency, accountability, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability,” she said.

She recalled learning how parliamentary democracy works by studying 19th century British prime ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli at Oxford.

“I learned the basics, that one accepts the decision of the voters, that the governing power is gained and relinquished in accordance with the desires of the electorate.”

“That is the system that goes on and that ultimately everyone gets another chance. These are things taken for granted here in Britain, but in 1990 the winner of the elections, the NLD, was never allowed even to convene parliament.”

“I hope that we can leave such days behind us and that as we look forward to the future it will be the will of the people that will be reflected faithfully in Burma’s changing landscape,” she said.

She read the final verse of the poem Say Not the Struggle by Naught Availeth, a favorite of Winston Churchill, that she said had been sent to her by a friend in the 1990s.

“I would like to emphasize in conclusion that this is the most important time for Burma, that this is the moment of our greatest need, so I would ask that our friends both here in Britain and beyond participate and support Burma’s efforts towards the establishment of a truly democratic and just society,” she said.

Burma is not yet among the ranks of truly democratic countries, she said, while adding: “I am confident we will get there before too long, with your help.”

Earlier in the day, Suu Kyi held talks in No. 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister David Cameron earlier, and she recalled that her father – Burmese independence leader Aung San – was photographed outside the same building.

Suu Kyi is now ending her tour of Europe, with her final stop in Paris.

Briitian has announced that Burmese President Thein Sein will visit Britain in a few months. Suu Kyi said, “I think it’s right to invite him. Because we don’t want to be shackled by the past. We want to use the past to build a happier future.”

A former general, Thein Sein’s recent government reforms and passage of a series of laws to move the country toward democracy have led to the lifting or suspension of some sanctions.

Since taking office in March 2011, the government has freed political prisoners, sought peace deals with ethnic armies, dismantled a fixed exchange rate that distorted government revenue and halted the construction of a $3.6 billion Chinese-backed hydropower project in response to criticism China was exploiting Burmese resources. He also met with Suu Kyi and made it possible for her party to rejoin the political process after boycotting the 2010 elections, and he encouraged her to seek political office.

Suu Kyi, was kept under house arrest for 15 of the past 20 years by Burma’s military government, became a lawmaker in her country in May, a sign that it is opening up after decades of dictatorship.

On Wednesday, Suu Kyi received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in advanced civil law.

While in Britian, Suu Kyi also visited the Department for International Development (DIFD) to meet with Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell to discuss possible aid to Burma.

“Aid that is given with the right intentions – in the right way – works. It must empower the people and promote the principles of a genuine democratic society,” Mitchell said.

Following recent conflict between the country’s ethnic groups, the UK will give up to £3 million for short-term peace building initiatives in cease-fire areas, subject to an agreement of results that will be achieved.

A delegation of Parliamentarians will travel to Burma in July to build parliamentary links and determine how best to support the democratic process.

The DFID plans to increase its support in each successive year to the Burmese elections in 2015.

Some observers have said that Aung San Suu Kyi could become the next president of Burma, but, as she has repeated throughout her trip, the road ahead is long, and it will not be smooth.

Suu Kyi not thinking about leading Burma – but she’s prepared

Suu Kyi not thinking about leading Burma – but she’s prepared

Sours from ; Mizzima News; Friday, 29 June 2012 12:29 Mizzima News
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Aung San Suu Kyi said she is prepared to lead Burma’s government in 2015 if her party wins the nationwide election, but working for the present is most important now, as she wrapped up events in Paris prior to returning home on Friday from a triumphant European tour which has firmly placed Burma’s needs on the international agenda.

Aung San Suu Kyi 
speaks to an audience at Sorbonne University in France. Photo: La 
SorbonneAung San Suu Kyi speaks to an audience at Sorbonne University in France on Thursday, June 28, 2012. Photo: La Sorbonne

Throughout her five-country tour, Suu Kyi stressed Burma’s need for more foreign aid, responsible foreign investment in industrial sectors, the need to renew the education system, and for continued democratic reforms.

“I think all party leaders have to prepare themselves for the possibility [of heading a government], if they truly believe in the democratic process,” Suu Kyi told Agence France Presse. “I think we can’t wait until 2015 to see how things will emerge. It is now that is most important… the next three years will decide what shape 2015 will take.”

On Thursday, Suu Kyi, 67, had breakfast with former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, she visited France’s Parliament and then participated in a talk with students at Sorbonne University in Paris.

Her visit to Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Britain, and, finally, France, has been overshadowed in Burma by a convulsive sectarian uprising pitting Buddhist and Muslims in western Burma, which has claimed nearly 80 lives and seen thousands of homes burned.

Suu Kyi said the key for a long-term peace in the region is to strengthen the rule of law, have more clear citizenship laws and enforce immigration policy. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority, have gone back and forth between Bangladesh and Burma for decades, if not centuries. Burma says they are “Bengali,” and Bangladesh says they are Burmese, while Burma denies them citizenship.

“Some of them, I’m sure, are in accordance with the citizenship laws, entitled to the rights of citizens, but who these are we have to be able to find out,” Suu Kyi said. “Communal strife, lack of communal harmony, is usually rooted in cultural and religious differences which take time to sort out. But with rule of law, immediate problems could be minimized.”

“The problem in the west is… that the border is very porous. And the immigration authorities are not always the least corrupt,” she said. “Another problem is the matter of citizenship. We need fair and strong citizenship laws which will stand up to international scrutiny.”

Suu Kyi said she has been amazed by the response in Europe she has received to Burma’s needs and problems.

“So many people from different parts of the world seem to be aware of what we have been struggling for in Burma,” she said. “I felt such a tremendous sense of solidarity with us. That has been a surprise.”

When she returns to Burma, she will almost immediately be plunged into local political issues to be taken up on July 15, when the Burmese Parliament reconvenes. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, while symbolically important, has only a small fraction of seats in the Parliament that is dominated by a state-backed party that is heavily influenced by the military.

Suu Kyi has forged an understanding with the Burmese President Thein Sein to work together to continue the country’s democratic reforms, which have transformed it in less than two years, since the newly elected government received power from the former military regime.