Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, has strongly criticized the bill recently introduced in Rakhine State, which imposes a family planning program for Rohingya. Accused in the past of failing to defend the Muslim minority, for the first time the Nobel Laureate - on behalf of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) - said that if confirmed, the imposed limit of two children is "a flagrant violation of human rights." She added that she was opposed to the entry into force of the controversial law, introduced at first by the previous military junta and confirmed by the authorities of Rakhine "to contain sectarian violence."
The measure, which is part of a framework of measures targeted to reign in polygamy and the growth of the minority, will cover the district of Maungdaw, in Rakhine State, which includes the towns of Maungdaw and Buthidaung. Both are located along the border with Bangladesh, in an area inhabited largely by members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, the only ethnic group to which the "two children law" applies.
Speaking at the conclusion of an NLD meeting in Yangon, the "Lady" told reporters she could not confirm if the law was already in force, but added that it was "illegal." "It is a discriminatory norm - she said - and it is not in line with human rights. And if true, is clearly contrary to the law."
Aung San Suu Kyi has not spared criticism even against the "reformist" President Thein Sein, who has led the country since the spring of 2011 after decades of fierce and bloody military dictatorship. The head of state has made little progress in the field of peace and human rights. This calls for greater pressure, because "the desire for change alone is not enough." "If we want to succeed on the path of reforms - she continued - those involved in the process, everyone must change. Representatives of ethnic minorities in the NLD say that as long as there is inequality between races in Burma, there can never be a real peace. "
Since June last year, the area has been the scene of violent clashes between Burmese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims (about 800 thousand throughout Myanmar), which has left at least 200 dead and 140 thousand displaced people. For United States based Human Rights Watch (HRW) the area is being subjected to a veritable "ethnic cleansing" by the authorities, some Burmese policy experts speculate that the root of the tension is not ethnic-religious but economic. In fact, the area - unexplored - encloses vast deposits of oil and natural gas, as well as ongoing projects such as the Sino-Burmese pipeline, which starts from the junction of Kyaukphyu port and ends in Kunming.