The United Nations human rights rapporteur in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has said she is baffled by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to the Rohingya crisis, as the USA considers reinforcing sanctions on the supposedly reforming state.
Lee, a leading child rights expert appointed to the UN position in 2014, condemned the persecution of the Rohingya, which has created a refugee and public health crisis in Bangladesh as more than 600,000 Muslims fled across the border.
The UN Security Council is discussing a draft resolution aimed at pressuring the military to end the violence.
Lee told the media at the UN: “It has really baffled everyone, and has really baffled me, about Daw Aung’s non-position on this issue. She has not ever recognised that there is such a people called Rohingya — that’s a starting point. I’m very disappointed.”
A year after Washington lifted decades-long trade sanctions, the US is mulling reinstating economic punishment.
Resolutions in the House and Senate condemned the violence and called on Suu Kyi to speak out more forcefully on the issue.
Suu Kyi spurned the annual UN General Assembly last month in what was widely viewed as a way to avoid questions over the Rohingya crisis.
It is a first step in congressional action that could eventually include a stand-alone bill levelling sanctions against the military.
The State Department said this week that it was considering “economic options” to target those associated with atrocities against the Rohingya. It was also “exploring accountability mechanisms available under US law, including Global Magnitsky targeted sanctions”, the State Department added, referring to measures designed for human rights violators.
The Economist magazine says the economic transformation under Suu Kyi has also been a huge disappointment. It argued: “Those in charge of the economy are themselves incompetents. The minister for planning and finance admits he has a fake degree. Non-NLD technocrats are not welcome. Ms Suu Kyi has failed to articulate a programme, and her minions do nothing without her say-so.
“Vital matters pile up on her desk while she micromanages trivia. A lack of reliable power supplies and transport has scared away foreign investors. And the banking system, as one observer puts it, is only a rumour away from collapse,” it says.
Rohingya on the move. Picture credit: YouTube