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Suu Kyi Defends ‘Rule of Law’ in Myanmar

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on September 21, 2018 23:55

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She said that “we have to be fair to all sides.” But fairness means protecting the weak and the vulnerable from the abusers through the rule of law.

She used to be a darling of the western media and an inspiration to many. She’s a woman of courage and determination possessing an undying faith in her people. She endured years of imprisonment and suffered persecution at the hands of her captors, but her indomitable spirit made her truly a symbol of the strength of a woman who fought for truth, peace, and justice. She’s Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel peace prize winner.

A living democracy icon of a country that was ruled by a military junta for decades, Suu Kyi has reversed course, turning a blind eye on the plight of her own people, the Rohingyas of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. It was partly because of domestic political pressures but mainly because of their ethnicity and religion.

Calls from the international community for her to rise up and defend human rights and free speech seemed to fall on deaf ears. On Sept. 13, Suu Kyi defended the decision of her country’s court to convict Wa Lone (32) and Kyaw Soe Oo (28) who had been in jail for over seven years, saying they were lawbreakers. Their offense, reporting on the military crackdown of the Rohingya people, driving them out of Rakhine.

The Reuters journalists were detained not because of their profession, Suu Kyi said at the World Economic Forum in Ha Noi, Vietnam, but “the court has decided that they had broken the Official Secrets Act.”

The law cannot shield the state actors involved in the dispersal and displacement of more than 700,000 Rohingyas off Rakhine to nearby Bangladesh.

Suu Kyi must have understood the extent of the issue. We are talking about human lives, human rights, and human dignity. And lives are lost in her backyard, a group of people was forcibly driven out of their homes. It was a humanitarian crisis. Killing, torturing and raping the women of an ethnic group should never be a state secret. It is a crime; the state should not make crime a secret.

Suu Kyi said the soldiers’ brutality “could have been handled better” but defended the court decision saying, “we believe that in order to have long-term security and stability we have to be fair to all sides. We can’t choose who should be protected by rule of law.”

Jailing the journalists who reported the crime would mean rubbing salt to the wounds of those who suffered. It was an assault to freedom of speech, a principle cherished by democratic nations but alien to totalitarian states. The reporters only did their job, which was to report, to tell the stories of the people whose humanity and rights were violated.

The UN Human Rights Council released a report on Sept. 17 detailing their findings on the human rights situation of Myanmar and recommended investigation and prosecution of the security forces and military officials for crime against humanity and genocide.

Fairness means protecting the weak and the vulnerable from their abusers through the rule of law. 

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on September 21, 2018 23:55

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Source: WashPost
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Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed confidence Monday that former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a commission...

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