Dalai Lama urges Suu Kyi to act on plight of Rohingya

Dalai Lama says Myanmar democracy leader should speak up for persecuted Rohingya people

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has called on fellow Nobel peace laureate and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi to speak up for Myanmar's long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims as their plight is in the spotlight once again.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised for her silence on the issue for a long time, especially following Buddhist attacks on Rohingya in 2012 which killed hundreds.

The Dalai Lama told an Australian newspaper that he personally appealed to her twice about the issue during the attacks but her response was "the things were not simple but very complicated."

Myanmar's opposition leader Suu Kyi has not made any statement despite the Rohingya migrant crisis worsening for the past weeks and intensifying international pressure against Myanmar's discriminatory treatment of its Rohingya minority. Analysts say the reason for her silence is the upcoming November elections.

The Dalai Lama, who is himself a refugee, said in the interview that "There's something wrong with humanity's way of thinking. Ultimately we are lacking concern for others' lives, others' well-being," AFP reported.

The United Nations announced on Thursday that more than 2,500 migrants could still be stuck at sea, in seven boats, just before a scheduled meeting in Thailand to discuss "immediate action" to tackle the crisis. Seventeen Asian countries, as well as the United States, Switzerland and international organisations will attend Friday's meeting.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has developed a "forced relocation" plan for thousands of Rohingya refugees who have lived in camps for years, the government has said.

The camps near the Burmese border will be moved to Hatiya Island in the Bay of Bengal, but Rohingyas in Bangladesh say this will make the lives of refugees worse. The move will include only 32,000 registered Rohingya refugees, not 200,000 others who are not registered.

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh ask for a permanent solution to the appalling conditions in the camps, while the UN refugee agency says any movement should be voluntary.

Thousands of conflict torn migrants from both Bangladesh and Rohingya are attempting dangerous voyages on makeshift boats to Southeast Asia.

The discovery of mass graves in Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia, likely filled with the bodies of Rohingya who attempted to escape Myanmar by traveling to the countries, has prompted the government of Thailand and Malaysia to crackdown on traffickers and refugees.

TRTWorld and agencies