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Aung San Suu Kyi: Turning her back on Rohingya?

Since October 2016, nearly 75,000 of Myanmar's Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh, as a United Nations international probe investigates accusations of rape and murder committed by Myanmar security forces.

According to the UN, Rohingya families "may have had members killed, beaten, raped", in what likely amounts to crimes against humanity.

With anti-Rohingya violence continuing to simmer in Myanmar, why doesn't the country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, put an end to it?

"We know that Aung San Suu Kyi does not control the armed forces," says Maung Zarni, an exiled dissident from Myanmar. "[But] she controls four other ministries that are directly involved in dismissing, denying, and legitimising the persecution of the Rohingyas."

But former East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta disagrees, claiming Suu Kyi inherited an "extraordinarily difficult situation".

"She has to deal with the military, who still have enormous power," says Ramos-Horta, a Nobel prizewinner. "She inherits a very fractured society with more than 18 armed insurgencies, ethnic groups, and this is a very difficult transition from military dictatorship to democracy."

In this week's Arena, scholar and activist Maung Zarni debates with Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta on whether Suu Kyi has the power to help the Rohingya.


(c) 2017 maungzarni.

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