As Myanmar State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi commences her two-day Nepal visit today, the Nepalese government should draw her attention to ensure safe return of the Rohingya Muslim minorities and have a fair investigation into the alleged abuses, said human rights agencies.
More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims are taking refuge in different countries, mainly in Bangladesh, having fled a brutal military crackdown that began in August 2017. UN reports said that during the campaign, Myanmar’s military burnt the houses of the Muslim minorities in Rakhine State, carried out killings and gang rapes.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize winner, holds a crucial portfolio in the present government which has been accused of colluding with the military in repressing the Muslim minorities. Her visit comes at a time when the repatriation process has been halted in the lack of assurance from the Myanmar government for the Rohingya’s safe return.
Mohna Ansari, spokesperson for the National Human Rights Commission, said the Nepali authorities should clearly talk to Suu Kyi for the safe return of the displaced people and fair investigation into the matter.
“The geo-political factors should not affect the human rights issue. The Nepal government must present its clear position on the matter,” Ansari said. Suu Kyi, who is here to attend ‘The Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal’ taking place in the Capital from November 30 to December 3, is scheduled to meet President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali among other leaders.
Ansari said it is important that Nepal raise the issue of the human rights violations under its international obligation as it is a member of the UN Human Rights Council at present. Nepal was elected as the member of the council for the first time in October last year. Though a majority of Rohingya Muslims are taking refuge in Bangladesh, hundreds have entered Nepal via India. There are around 400 such refugees in Kathmandu’s Kapan area. Nirajan Thapaliya, director at Amnesty International, said Nepali authorities should take up the issue with Suu Kyi.
“Nepal should exert pressure on the Myanmar government through international collaboration for the safe return of the oppressed,” he said. Thapaliya said Suu Kyi colluded with the military crackdown and is reluctant in ensuring justice to the victims.
Amnesty International on November 12 withdrew its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Suu Kyi citing her “apparent indifference” to atrocities committed against the Rohingya and her increasing intolerance of freedom of speech.