» 05/28/2013 MYANMAR Aung San Suu Kyi: Rohingya Muslims discriminated against in "two child law" The Nobel Peace Laureate intervenes for the first time in defense of the Muslim minority: it is a violation of human rights. The opposition leaders challenge President Thein Sein: the desire for change "is not enough", concrete reforms and equality are needed.
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
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.