Activists part of the democracy movement have turned a blind eye to violence against Muslims
For the past five years, the plight of the Rohingya living in Myanmar has resulted in violence, deaths and an exodus of tens of thousands of the Muslim minority into neighbouring Bangladesh. It’s a plight that has not improved with the changing political climate in Myanmar, and the Rohingya face persecution and repression on a near-daily basis from government forces — be they the ones controlled formerly by the military junta in power there, or the new civilian authority led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
The most recent tensions in Myanmar’s north-eastern province of Rakhine has resulted in at least 100 deaths in the Rohingya community, with thousands deciding to flee their homes and make the perilous journey into Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi’s government brought the hope that once the military government had been replaced and Myanmar embarked on the road to real change and democratic freedoms, the Rohingya would no longer be a persecuted ethnic and religious minority in the Buddhist-dominated nation. Those hopes, however, have been dashed, with Suu Kyi seemingly unwilling or unable to bring her influence to bear to end the communal violence and attacks on shops and businesses owned by Muslims, mosques and on members of the Rohingya community itself.
The democracy movement in Myanmar gained the support of the global community in dealing with the injustices of the generals who ruled the nation with an iron fist. But those same political activists have now turned a blind eye to the plight of the Rohingya. Pope Francis will be visiting Myanmar in two months’ time. His visit should at least help highlight the Rohingya’s plight once more to the world.