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Critics circle Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis

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11th-Sep-2017       
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Al Jazeera News :
Myanmar's Nobel Peace Prize winning Aung San Suu Kyi is facing intense scrutiny over her response to the plight of her nation's Rohingya population.
Almost 300,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh, according to the UN, since renewed violence between state security forces and the minority group began more than two weeks ago.
The disruption started on August 25 after Rohingya fighters attacked police posts in Rakhine, on Myanmar's (formerly Burma) western coast, triggering a military crackdown.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation's state counsellor and de facto leader, claimed this week that the situation is being twisted by a "huge iceberg of misinformation".
"We make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as, the right to, not just political but social and humanitarian defence", she reportedly told Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone call on September 5.
The Rohingya, frequently described as "the world's most persecuted minority", are a mostly Muslim ethnic group, who have lived in majority Buddhist Myanmar for centuries.
There are currently around 1.1m residents in the Southeast Asian nation, which is home to more than 100 ethnic groups and approximately 55 million people.
A number of high-profile individuals have publicly criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her campaign supporting democracy in Myanmar, in light of the crisis.  

However, not all world leaders have been united in condemning Aung San Suu Kyi.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for example, has refused to speak out and has instead offered his support to her.
"We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and especially the violence against security forces," he said during a state visit to Myanmar on September 6.
More than 400,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her accolade, accusing her of doing "virtually nothing to stop this crime against humanity in her country".
"The... [prize is] only to be given to 'people who have given their utmost to international brotherhood and sisterhood.' These peaceful values need to be nurtured by the laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize, including Aung San Suu Kyi, until their last days," the change.org petition reads.
"When a laureate cannot maintain peace, then for the sake of peace itself the prize needs to be returned or confiscated by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee."
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel Peace laureate, has condemned Aung San Suu Kyi's apparent inaction in response to the emerging crisis in Myanmar.
"Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar," Yousafzai, who famously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban, tweeted on September 3.
Yousafzai, 20, called on the international community to provide sanctuary for those fleeing the violence.
"Other countries, including my own country Pakistan, should follow Bangladesh's example and give food, shelter and access to education to Rohingya families fleeing violence and terror," she wrote.
"Over the last several years I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending South Africa's policy of apartheid, has also called on Aung San Suu Kyi to end the Rohingya's suffering.
Denouncing the "unfolding horror", the 85-year-old implored his "dearly beloved younger sister" to intervene in the crisis and "guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again", in an open letter published on September 7.
"If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep," he wrote.
"A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country. It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain."
Shirin Ebadi, a prominent human rights activist and 2003 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has accused Aung San Suu Kyi of having "turned her back on democracy once she came to power".
Though stopping short of calling for the prize to be stripped, Ebadi said Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to live up to the prize's ideals.
"Aung San Suu Kyi received this prize for her peaceful resistance in the face of oppression. She deserved to win it," she told Deutsche Welle. "How the Nobel peace laureates behave after taking the prize has nothing to do with the Nobel committee. It is up to the laureates to honor the award. Aung San Suu Kyi fails to do."
Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has appealed to Myanmar's officials in a bid to end the ongoing crisis.
Guterres expressed concern that continued disruption could descend into a "humanitarian catastrophe with implications for peace and security that could continue to expand beyond Myanmar's borders" in a letter sent to the UN Security Council.
Although he has not directly criticise Aung San Suu Kyi, the secretary-general condemned Myanmar's leaders.
"I appeal to all, all authorities in Myanmar, civilian authorities and military authorities, to indeed put an end to this violence that, in my opinion, is creating a situation that can destabilise the region," he told reporters on September 5.
"The grievances and unresolved plight of the Rohingya have festered for far too long."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, has claimed he will press world leaders to help Myanmar's Rohingya who he said are facing a genocide.
Turkey will raise the issue at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this month - which will run from September 12 to September 25 - according to Erdogan.

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