Bangkok: Myanmar’s opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the government to “carefully” handle the country’s ethnic minorities issue, especially the Rohingyas,
In a posting on the social networking site Facebook, she wrote on Wednesday night: “The protection of rights of minorities is an issue which should be addressed very, very carefully and as quickly and effectively as possible, and I’m not sure the government is doing enough about it. Well, in fact, I don’t think they’re doing enough about it.”
She posted a part of her interview with The Washington Post in which she stressed that her National League for Democracy party stood for the rights of the minorities and promoting “peace and harmony” supported by democratic values.
“It is such a sensitive issue, and there are so many racial and religious groups that whatever we do to one group may have an impact on other groups as well. So this is an extremely complex situation, and not something that can be resolved overnight,” she said in the interview.
Greater autonomy is the main demand among Myanmar’s ethnic minorities, including Shan, Karen, Rakhine, Mon, Chin, Kackhin, Kayah and Kokang.
Together they represent more than 30 percent of the 53 million people in the country.
Nearly a million Rohingyas live in Myanmar, whose government refuses to recognise them as citizens.
According to human rights organisations, Rohingyas are among the most persecuted, stateless minorities in the world.
Myanmar authorities formulated strict regulations to monitor displacements, births, immigration, marriages and construction of mosques by the Rohingyas, who are considered illegal “Bangladeshi” immigrants by the government.
In 2012 and 2013, there was an outbreak of religious violence between Buddhists and Muslims, leading to the death of hundreds of people, mostly Rohingyas.
Since then, around 140,000 are confined in camps for displaced people, while many have headed towards Malaysia and Indonesia, braving human traffickers.