South Africa's outspoken Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday castigated Aung San Suu Kyi over the Myanmar government's treatment of Rohingyas and urged her to intervene in the crisis.
Suu Kyi, feted for her years of peaceful opposition to Myanmar junta rulers, has been urged to speak up for the Rohingya, with Muslim nations and the UN leading condemnation of her government.
Tutu, who helped dismantle apartheid in South Africa and became the moral voice of the nation, joined in the condemnation, reports AFP.
"If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep," Tutu said in a statement.
"It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain," he said noting that "the images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread."
"As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again... for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people," said Tutu.
Meanwhile, the United Nations, European Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other international and national bodies have continued their call for decisive steps to end the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State of Myanmar and urgent implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission's recommendations.
The organisations are deeply concerned by sustained reports of significant violence and the impact on civilian populations, including the Rohingya community.
OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen on Wednesday in separate letters to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and urged them to take action to alleviate the sufferings of the Rohingyas of Myanmar.
The secretary general reiterated that the OIC joined the international community in calling for the implementation of Annan Commission's recommendations, saying these are long-term goals and there is an urgent and immediate need for lifesaving intervention.
“The OIC stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance,” he said and reiterated the call on the Myanmar government to end the cycle of violence and inhumane treatment of the Rohingya people and provide a lasting solution to the question of their legal status.
Since 2014, the OIC has warned that if the government of Myanmar continues to destroy homes, kill innocent civilians and humiliate entire population without any recourse to justice, this will create a breeding ground for recruitment by extremist elements. Now the international community must act to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya.
The EU high representative in her statement said the situation in Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar is extremely serious. She said there is an urgent need for de-escalation of tension in Rakhine, on all side, and for full observance of international human rights law.
She said unrestricted humanitarian access, including for aid workers, is essential in order to reach those who desperately need it.
“The European Union stands in solidarity with the Bangladeshi authorities, who have played a crucial humanitarian role in welcoming the refugees who have arrived as a result of the crisis,” said the EU official in a statement on Wednesday.
The government of Myanmar has committed to implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. This should be done without delay, read the statement.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stepped up pressure on the authorities, warning of ethnic cleansing against minorities in Rakhine.
In a rare letter to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, he expressed concern that the violence could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
He also warned that there was a risk of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar that could destabilise the region.
In Bangladesh, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kazi Rezaul Hoque on Wednesday said the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar is tantamount to genocide.
“It is extreme violation of human rights to persecute Rohingya and force them to leave their homeland Myanmar,” he said in a statement.