Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan is pressing world leaders to do more to help Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, who face genocide.
There is growing demand for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Key to return the Peace Prize because of not speaking out for a religious minority (Muslims) that has long been persecuted.
Previously, in an interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husain, Suu Kyi refused to condemn violence against the Rohingya and denied that Muslims in Myanmar have been subject to ethnic cleansing – in the aftermath of the interview, she expressed anger at being interviewed by a Muslim.
According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minority in the world. The 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims squeezed precariously into the north-west state of Rakhine, in mainly Buddhist Burma, bordering majority Muslim Bangladesh, are stateless and unwanted.
Myanmar police and soldiers have been committing ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State by scorched earth attacks, burning down their villages, and committing massacres, rapes and other atrocities that have forced tens of thousands to flee for their lives across the border into Bangladesh.
While most of the world leaders now acknowledge the Muslim genocide, British government declines to condemn despite public pressure (Downing St protest).
Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi’s urgent question asking the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, led the House of Commons to discuss the matter on 5 September 2017.
Responding from the Tory government side, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field MP gave a sense of defending rather than condemning the atrocities faced by Rohingya Muslims. This was well picked up by some MPs:
‘I am a little disappointed by the Minister’s response, as he started by suggesting that somehow the Rohingya Muslims and these people had caused this to occur…. Is the Minister aware that because of what has happened recently, many young children have been beheaded and civilians have been burned alive by the military forces? Is he aware that 120,000 Rohingya have fled for their lives to Bangladesh? Will he actually condemn this campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims?’: Yasmin Qureshi MP
‘….. gently say how disappointed I was with the Minister’s tone, which sounded pretty close to dumping the blame for this ethnic cleansing on the victim community? Will he say a little more about our expectations of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is leading a Government and military forces who are associated with behaviour that is utterly unacceptable by any standard at all?’: Crispin Blunt MP (Con)
‘The Minister may struggle with identifying the situation as genocide, but systematic rape, massacres and the burning of buildings of a minority community amount to ethnic cleansing to try to force it out of the country, if not out of existence. That is genocide. When can we expect an appropriate response to that effect from the Minister or the Government?’: Naz Shah MP (Lab)
‘Why will the Minister not condemn this grave crime against humanity; why will he not condemn the persecution and ethnic cleansing; and why will he not condemn the deafening silence of Ms Suu Kyi?’: Imran Hussain MP (Lab)
‘We need to appreciate that the sustained discrimination against, and killing of, Rohingya Muslims has been ongoing for years’: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP (Lab)
‘I am sure the Minister will share the deep disappointment of many Members of this House at the failure of Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar’s civilian Government, to speak out more forcefully against human rights abuses in Rakhine’: Liz McInnes MP (Lab)