BREAKDOWN OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI’S SPEECH: Lies, Victims blaming, Defence of Military, etc.
By Haikal Mansor
The widely anticipated Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech is a typical example of denial and lie when her National League for Democracy (NLD) government is in direct complicit with Myanmar armed forces in the campaign of genocide against Rohingya.
“I reaffirmed our faith and confidence in the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
Aung San Suu Kyi’s government refuses visa to the U.N. fact-finding mission after the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to investigate “widespread as well as systematic, indicating the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”
“We will order Myanmar embassies no to grant any visa to U.N. fact-finding mission members. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said we would not coordinate with U.N. fact-finding mission, as we have disassociated ourselves from the resolution,” said her deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kyaw Tin.
“If you are interested in joining us in our endeavours, please let us know. We can arrange for you to visit these areas, and to ask them for yourself, why they have not fled, why they have chosen to remain in their villages.”
Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is ready to take foreign delegations to assigned areas of less effects during the campaign of genocide, however, the government is reluctant and denies the U.N. fact-find mission an entry to affected Rohingya villages where well-documented crimes against humanity were committed.
“Development has to be achieved within the context of the first two – nurturing democratic values, establishing peace and stability.”
Since the NLD government comes into power, anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise. Hate groups such as the renamed Ma Ba Tha are in full drive to spread hatred, racism and violence against Rohingya.
Media freedom on the coverage of Rohingya plight and human rights abuses is completely compromised in Myanmar. Her government has formally instructed the national media to use “Bengali terrorists” when covering the situations of Rohingya.
“Eighteen months is a very short time in which to expect us to meet and overcome all of the challenges that we have been expected to do.”
Although Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t have control over Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs, she has reappointed inflammatory Zaw Htay as ‘spokesperson’ and promoted to ‘Deputy Director-General’ in President Office. As a retired major, he heavily defends the atrocious actions of Myanmar military, spreads lies, and creates racial tensions, discrimination and persecutions. He is directly involved during the campaign of Genocide in 2012 after he shared a photo of allegedly raped Rakhine girl. Now, he remains the main sources of misinformation and denial of allegations coming out of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
“Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny and we are committed to a sustainable solution that would lead to peace, stability and development for all communities within that State.”
The international community witnesses and records the severe forms of human rights violations committed against Rohingya community. The issue of Rohingya is not the internal affair of Myanmar, but it is an international concern to bring peace and find a lasting solution for Rohingya, who have been suffering the state-sponsored persecution for more than 4 decades.
“After several months of seemingly quiet and peace, on 25 August, thirty police outposts, as well as the Regimental Headquarters in Taungbazar village, were attacked by armed groups.”
The clashes took place following a month-long of provocations, preparations and abuses on Rohingya civilians.
Commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has met with Arakan National Party leaders to train and arm non-Muslim population, and form “people’s militia’ against Rohingya. A heavy battalion was deployed to Maungdaw on the next day of meeting.
Rakhine extremists have rallied to ‘expel NGOs’, ‘form militia’, ‘wipe out’ Rohingya and fully ‘implement 1982 citizenship law’.
Rohingya villagers in Rathedaung township were left in mass-starvation as the villages were under siege since July 28, and Rohingya men were taken away en masse on August 23.
“The government declared the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and its supporters responsible for acts of terrorism.”
The only time Aung San Suu Kyi used ‘Rohingya’ during her speech is when she associated Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army to ‘terrorism’.
Although several ethnic armed groups have been fighting the ‘authoritarian rule’ and the military, the country has never before labelled any groups as ‘terrorists’. The declaration of ARSA as ‘terrorist’ group is clearly expected due to the rise of Islamophobia and racial discrimination in Myanmar.
It is a justification that the government gives the military to completely wipe out the entire Muslim Rohingya community under the banner of ‘counter-terrorism’ operations.
“The security forces have been instructed to adhere strictly to the Code of Conduct in carrying out security operations, to exercise all due restraint, and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage and the harming of innocent civilians.”
The collateral damages inflicted on Rohingya civilians since August 25 are crystal clear and well-documented.
More than 430,000 Rohingya become refugees in Bangladesh after the military destroyed more than 214 Rohingya villages the scorched earth military operations, and nearly 10,000 Rohingya civilians including children and women were killed.
“Those who have had to flee their homes are many – not just Muslims and Rakhines.”
The vast majority of affected Rakhine and other non-Muslims were reportedly airlifted by the security posts, provided with security and shelter while Rohingya civilians are singled out in the campaign of genocide targeting collectively and killing indiscriminately.
“Humanitarian assistance was provided to displaced communities by a team led by the Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement from 27 August 2017 on wards.”
The state government, the military and the central government have blocked U.N. agencies and international NGOs accessing the regions, thus cutting off the humanitarian assistance on which the Rohingya civilians depended on.
On August 13, Rakhine protesters called for the expulsion of NGOs that were providing life-saving humanitarian aid inside the IDP camps and other parts of northern Rakhine State.
“Since 5 September, there have been no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations.”
BBC’s Jonathan Head said, “[I] saw two villages close to Naf River 20 km north of Maungdaw. Destruction of Rohingya villages has not stopped yet.” He saw it a day after Aung San Suu Kyi’s claim of ‘no clearance operations’.
The destruction, the killing and the forced removal of Rohingya population from Myanmar still persist.
“We are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh. We want to find out why this exodus is happening.”
The reasons are obvious. Rohingya are under the radar of the long-rooted policies of extermination, and expulsion from the country. Since June 2012, more than 670,000 Rohingya are forced to leave the country, majority of them are now living in dire refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“More than 50 per cent of the villages of Muslims are intact.”
This confirms that nearly 50% of Rohingya houses has systematically been destroyed by the military. Human Rights Watch also affirmed the devastating crimes in satellite imagery which identified 214 Rohingya villages.
“We would like to invite the members of our diplomatic community to join us in our endeavour to learn more from the Muslims who have integrated successfully into the Rakhine State.”
The Rohingya community is well segregated by the discriminatory policies implemented by the military regime and the former government of Thein Sein. More than 120,000 Rohingya are living in squalid internally displaced camps without access to movement, food, water, sanitation, healthcare and education.
Rohingya living outside the camps are in completely behind racial line, where the movement is extremely restricted affecting healthcare, education and livelihood.
Rakhine nationalists and politicians have been lobbying to put Rohingya in a concentration camp-style designated places with re-enforced heavy security forces.
“All people living in the Rakhine State have access to education and healthcare services without discrimination.”
Education is severely restricted for Rohingya who are denied high education, and the quality of education from primary to high schools is very poor accompanied by frequently usage of racial slur by majority non-Rohingya teachers.
Healthcare is one of the main grave human rights abuses that the community faces for decades. There is only 1 doctor per 100,000 Rohingya. The ongoing military operations leave no Rohingya doctors to practise freely in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, effectively making the township without Rohingya doctors.
“Hundreds of new jobs and opportunities have been created for local people through Public Private Partnerships.”
The 1982 Citizenship law prevents Rohingya in government services, and the endemic racism and discrimination keeps Rohingya from being employed in private sectors.
“The viability of a new Special Economic Zone to bring new jobs and businesses is being assessed.”
Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone is one such example where ‘once-thriving Rohingya coastal community’ in Kyaukpyu was uprooted burning down ‘more than 811 Rohingya houses and houseboats’ in 2012, that effectively removes the community to pave the way for the zone and denies benefiting from it.
“The government has upgraded 300 schools in Rakhine.”
In the ongoing military operations, dozens of schools were burned down along with Rohingya houses. There is no upgrade of schools in northern Rakhine for a long time.
“Humanitarian aid reached all communities in 95% of the affected areas before the recent attacks on August 25.”
No reports from the ground confirm Aung San Suu Kyi’s claim of aid reaching ‘all communities in 95% of the affected areas”. The access to humanitarian aid is highly compromised by the actions of military, and many staffs of NGOs were forced to leave northern Rakhine for the security reasons.
“Three camps have been closed and the necessary assistance provided, including the building of new houses.”
215 households from Kyaukpyu, Pauktaw and Ramree township were relocated. 55 of them are Kaman Muslims who were moved to Yangon, rather than Ramree. It is still not clear what kind of assistance and security measures being provided for the resettled internally displaced persons.
“With regard to citizenship, a strategy with specific timelines has been developed to move forward the National Verification Process.”
Ethnicity is a main profound basis of persecution. The forced ethnic re-verification is to deny and erase the historical and cultural importance of Rohingya in Arakan (now Rakhine Sate). The verification process started to register Rohingya under the name of ‘Bengali’ by either force or intimidation, thus denying the right to self-identification.
“A new FM radio channel has been set up… broadcasts in Rakhine, Bengali and Myanmar languages.”
Aung San Suu Kyi also highlighted that ‘Bengali’ language to be used in the FM radio to “provide information on healthcare, national verification, and education to all communities”.
‘Rohingya’ language was used in the cultural programme on Burma Broadcasting Services BBS between 1961 and 1965, for highlighting, education and integration of once-tolerant Myanmar multicultural society.
“Training and capacity building for police and security forces is being provided in cooperation with the EU and United Nations agencies.”
“The British government is announcing today [September 19, 2017] that we are going to stop all defence engagement and training of the Burmese military by the Ministry of Defence,” said Theresa May.
The Britain has provided “only one hour of 60-hour course was on human rights.”
“Since December 2016, local and foreign media groups have been given access to areas previously off-limits in Rakhine. Even after the outbreaks on 25 August, we arranged for several media groups to visit the afflicted areas.”
The government arranged trips for journalists were highly limited and restricted, and prevented to freely interview or visit affected people and areas.
“The government is working hard to enhance existing relations with Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh has requested “her security adviser to visit the camps during a recent visit to Dhaka, but the adviser did not go”. Aung San Suu Kyi remains silent when Rohingya and other human rights organizations have called her to visit the refugee camps and meet the Rohingya victims in person.
“There has been a call for the repatriation of refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh. We are prepared to start the verification process at any time.”
On September 6, National Security Advisor Thaung Tun said, “If they met the norms, they were accepted from Myanmar. We can accept Myanmar citizens.” He also said Rohingya must ‘proof’ citizenship or evidence living in Myanmar.
Rohingya are stripped of citizenship in 1982 which subsequently fallen preys of discrimination and persecution. Majority of Rohingya refugees have either lost other forms of papers during various military campaigns, or confiscated by the previous governments.
“There have been allegations and counter-allegations and we have to listen to all of them. And we have to make sure that these allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.”
The U.N. Human Rights Commissioner described the operations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Human Rights organizations have documented cases of rape, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest, destruction of villages and properties, and planning of landmines.
On the other hand, the military and the government have used Hindu to stage burning of houses to mislead the international community as if “Rohingya are burning their own houses”.
“Action will be taken against all peoples, regardless of their religion, race, or political position who go against the laws of the land and who violate human rights as accepted by our international community.”
During her whole speech, she failed to mention the military and the atrocious crimes being committed to leave collateral damage to Rohingya civilians. The military is protected by the constitution against their war crimes committed during military actions, and they are provided to conduct any operations in full impunity.
The crimes against humanity inflicted against the persecuted Rohingya community amount to ‘ethnic cleansing’ or ‘genocide’ which could persecute both Myanmar military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s government under international norms and laws.