Dhaka, March 1 (IANS) Three female Nobel peace laureates have asked Myanmar State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi “to act now” or “face the consequences” for what they called “genocide” being carried out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
More than 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017, after the Myanmar Army launched a military offensive following attacks on multiple government posts by Rohingya rebels.
Suu Kyi has been widely criticised over her response to violence against the Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as “ethnic cleansing”.
The Nobel laureates on Wednesday also threatened to drag Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for “orchestrating genocide against the Rohingya people”, bdnews24.com reported.
“She did not tell the truth to the world. She should wake up and stop the genocide now. She has to tell the truth or she should resign,” said Tawakkol Karman from Yemen who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
“Otherwise, she will face the justice”.
Along with Shirin Ebadi from Iran and Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Karman visited Cox’s Bazar and heard the horrific stories Rohingyas faced before fleeing to Bangladesh, the report said.
“It’s genocide. It’s crime against Rohingya people. She should take them back to their homes and give citizenship rights,” Karman said.
“This is her duty as a head of the government of Myanmar. In addition, she is a Nobel woman. How can she be so silent,” she asked.
Ebadi said Myanmar can still be taken to the ICC through the UN Security Council, though she said she understands that China can wield its veto power to thwart such move.
“We do know China has rights to veto and it is likely to do so giving its economic interest.”
“Without you, the voice will not be heard,” she told reporters.
Maguire said “all have to take a firm and united stand now against violence, war and abuse of human rights”.
During their visit, the Nobel laureates spoke with the women and heard the “barbaric acts” against them in the Rakhine State before they fled to Bangladesh.
“How come the world be silent in front of all these crimes?” Karman asked. “It’s a shame on all of us.”
The laureates also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, government officials and human rights organisations and humanitarian agencies.
“The ICC prosecutor should open an independent investigation into crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Rakhine state,” they said in a written statement.
They called for a “comprehensive” arms embargo on Myanmar to ensure that there are no sales of weapons or other military equipment.