‘The world is waiting’: Malala urges Aung San Suu Kyi to act over Rohingya violence in Myanmar

Malala Yousafzai has condemned the violence in Myanmar.

Malala Yousafzai has condemned the violence in Myanmar. Photographer unknown

By Anthony Pearce | Yahoo News UK

ON THE WEB, 4 September 2017

Malala Yousafzai, the UN Messenger of Peace, has called on Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the “tragic and shameful” treatment of Rohingya Muslim in the country, following violence that has left hundreds dead.

The Pakistani activist, who was shot in the head by the Taliban aged 15 for attending school, said her “heart breaks at the suffering” of the Muslims who face persecution in the Buddhist-majority country.

In a statement on Twitter, she wrote: “Today we have seen pictures of small children killed by Myanmar’s security forces. These children attacked no one, but still their homes were burned to the ground.”

More than a million Rohingya, mostly Muslims, live in Rakhine State, the poorest region of the country, but are not considered citizens.

After militants attacked government forces on August 25, Myanmar’s army responded with brutal attacks that left many, including children, dead.

More than 73,000 refugees have now fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, according to the United Nations.

“If their home is not Myanmar, where they have lived for generations, then where is it? Rohingya people should be given citizenship in Myanmar, the country where they were born,” Yousafzai wrote.

She called on the country’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi — a fellow Nobel Peace prize winner — to condemn the treatment of Rohingya Muslims, saying that “the world is waiting”.

In 1991, Suu Kyi won the award for her activism, which led to the first non-military elected head of state in Myanmar, also known as Burma, since 1962.

She is constitutionally barred from holding the position of president — as she has foreign-born children — but is considered leader of the country.

According to the Guardian, the government is blocking UN aid from reaching those in need.

The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar said deliveries were suspended “because the security situation and government field-visit restrictions rendered us unable to distribute assistance”.

“The UN is in close contact with authorities to ensure that humanitarian operations can resume as soon as possible,” it said.

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said: “Aung Sang Suu Kyi is rightly regarded as one of the most inspiring figures of our age but the treatment of the Rohingya is alas besmirching the reputation of Burma.

“She faces huge challenges in modernising her country… It is vital that she receives the support of the Burmese military, and that her attempts at peacemaking are not frustrated.

“She and all in Burma will have our full support in this,” he added.

Yousafzai was awarded the Novel peace prize in 2014, becoming the youngest ever recipient, following her campaigns to get free eduction for girls everywhere.

She was recently accepted to study philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.

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