Crackdown on Rohingya mars Suu Kyi’s human rights image
Myanmar leader walks a tightrope between the military and overseas critics
MOTOKAZU MATSUI, Nikkei staff writer
YANGON — Human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, including reports of mass killings by soldiers in the western state of Rakhine, are tarnishing the reputation of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
International critics fault the one-time pro-democracy activist for failing to bring the military to heel. The armed forces’ crackdown, which they claim is a fight against armed extremists, has driven many Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh. The ongoing abuses threaten to erode the legitimacy of Suu Kyi’s government.
Cox’s Bazar in eastern Bangladesh, a resort town on the Bay of Bengal, has been flooded with Rohingya refugees since October. Most fled Myanmar with little more than the clothes on their backs. More than 20,000 have crossed into Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration reported Tuesday.
The Rohingya are descendants of Muslims who migrated to Myanmar from Bangladesh and nearby areas by the 19th century. Some 800,000 Rohingya live in Rakhine.
In Myanmar, where Buddhists make up the vast majority of the population, the growing number of Muslims arouses alarm. In 1982, the former socialist government stripped Rohingya of their citizenship. Following the legal change, they were treated as illegal immigrants and suffered harsh discrimination.
The rape and murder of a local Buddhist woman allegedly by Rohingya in 2012 touched off rioting in Rakhine in which more than 200 people were killed. The government responded by relocating more than 100,000 Rohingya to refugee camps. Unable to endure the poor living conditions in the camps, many have fled to neighboring countries in small boats.
The human rights situation of the Rohingya is the worst it has been since the adoption of the citizenship law in 1982. Myanmar’s military is suspected of carrying out a genocidal campaign, following an incident on Oct. 9 in which dozens of alleged Rohingya militants, armed with machetes, attacked a police station in northern Rakhine, killing nine officers.
Source by: http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Crackdown-on-Rohingya-mars-Suu-Kyi-s-human-rights-image