As news reports and information circulates about the desperate plight of the Rohingya population of Myanmar and what, on the surface, looks like ethnic cleansing. We publish here the open letter from the Gandhi Development Trust in South Africa. In Pressenza we also express our deep concern for what is happening in the area and join in the call for Suu Kyi to speak about the situation.
Dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
RE: Situation in the State of Rakhine Myanmar
It is with grave concern that we write to you about the situation in the Rakhine State of your country.
We identified in you the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi who upheld human rights and justice for all as his key guiding principles. We therefore decided in 2009, at a time when you were still under many restrictions, to present you with our highest award, the International Mahatma Gandhi Award for Reconciliation and Peace.
We also note that you are a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and that a co-Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has called on you to publicly react to the atrocities being carried out in this region.
While we are aware that there are constraints in your position as State Counsellor, it does not speak well to remain silent when humanitarian aid is denied to people who are already suffering from poverty and deprivation, and they are subjected to military attacks and abuses.
Reports have been widely circulated that thousands of people are being forced to flee from this area. These are facts that cannot be disputed. We urge you to use all your power and influence to ensure that the government of Myanmar engages with the people of this area in a humane and compassionate manner in order to avoid further attacks or reprisals which will only turn people into enemies.
Bearing in mind your amazingly courageous life journey and the huge sacrifices you have made over many years to uphold the principles of non-violence, we
respectfully call on you to ensure that the Government of Myanmar immediately ends these attacks and urgently creates a platform for dialogue and peaceful settlement.
On behalf of Trustees of Gandhi Development Trust