Dalai Lama urges Aung San Suu Kyi to defend Rohingyas

| Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 17:15
First Published |

Dalai Lama urges Suu Kyi to defend Rohingyas

Sydney: The Dalai Lama has urged Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, to defend the ethnic Muslim minority Rohingya group against persecution in Myanmar, Australian media reported on Thursday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said he had brought up the subject in the past also but that Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar's political opposition, had responded by saying it was a complicated issue.

"But in spite of that I feel she can do something," said the Dalai Lama in an interview with The Australian newspaper from his office in India.

Since sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar began in 2012, some 1.1 million Rohingyas have been severely affected.

Official figures account for 140,000 Rohingyas living in deplorable conditions in refugee camps in Myanmar's state of Rakhine.

The Tibetan leader emphasised that discrimination and violence against Rohingyas was unjust, and appealed to Myanmar's Buddhists to "remember the face of the Buddha" when dealing with the minority.

The finding of clandestine graves of alleged illegal immigrants at the beginning of May in southern Thailand was followed by a crackdown on human trafficking that led to the collapse of the traffickers' networks.

The traffickers are believed to have abandoned many boats in the Andaman Sea, leaving men, women and children in a precarious condition.

Malaysian authorities also found 139 graves at 28 abandoned human trafficking camps near its border with Thailand.

According to the UN, some 25,000 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar have taken to the boats in the first quarter of this year.

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