See More on Facebook

Opinion, Politics

She forgot it all

Two Nobel Peace laureates express how they are disappointed in Suu Kyi.


Written by

Updated: March 2, 2018

In their final meeting with journalists in the capital yesterday, Nobel Peace laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire urged Aung San Suu Kyi to remember the times they stood by her during the years of her house-arrest.

Their fellow Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Tawakkol Karman, who accompanied them on this trip to Bangladesh, was absent, having already left the country.

“When she called for Burma, we responded. We thought she meant all Burmese, but now we know she does not acknowledge the Rohingya,” Maguire said at the event held in Dhaka Club.

Ebadi added how they had all staged protests when Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. “She appears to have forgotten how she suffered under house arrest– the Rohingyas are suffering ten times more,” Ebadi said.

“Nobel laureates have tried to go to Myanmar but have not been granted visas,” claimed Maguire. “Myanmar is not letting [those] people who speak out about the Rohingya crisis [to] enter the country.”

Ebadi described how she wrote several open letters to Suu Kyi but received no response.

The duo also called out countries for not taking a stronger stance in tackling the Rohingya crisis.

“The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson flew over the camps and saw the destruction happening. We want the British government to take Burma to the International Crimes Court (ICC) instead of sending money,” said Maguire. Boris Johnson came to Bangladesh on a two-day trip earlier last month to see the plight of the Rohingyas for himself. Following the trip, he went to Myanmar and met Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We are asking individual governments to take action. We want states with a passion for human rights to take Myanmar to the ICC,” she added. The three laureates had made a similar demand at a press conference held the previous day.

Ebadi also criticised Islamic countries for not holding Myanmar accountable.

“Where are the Islamic countries? Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait?” she asked, referring to the fact that the persecuted Rohingya minority are also largely Muslims.

“The Iranian media stays completely quiet about the Rohingya crisis because the state has no economic interest in Bangladesh,” added Ebadiat.

According to media reports, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait had directed aid to the Rohingya camps during different points last year.

Meanwhile, the Nobel laureates stated that the Rohingyas should be able to choose when to go back.

“When we visited the camps, I asked the women there whether they want to go back. They are so traumatised that one actually said that she would much rather drink poison,” said Maguire.

Many of the Rohingyas do want to go back but need conditions to change drastically, she stated.

“Unless they are assured that conditions in Myanmar will improve, that they will get all their rights and citizenship, the Rohingya women will not leave Bangladesh and we cannot let them go back when there is still danger of genocide.”

The week-long trip to Bangladesh of the three Nobel laureates, organised by Nobel Women’s Initiative and Naripokkho, concluded yesterday.

(This article originally appeared in the Daily Star Newspaper)



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


ANN Members
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Opinion, Politics

In any other country, govt. would have resigned

Saman Indrajith argues that the Sri Lankan government should have resigned. The entire government would have resigned if a disaster like the Easter Sunday carnage had happened in any other country, but such things would never happen in Sri Lanka, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament, yesterday. Participating in the debate on gazette declaring a state of emergency, Field Marshal Fonseka severely criticised both the government and the Opposition for allowing the deterioration of intelligence services. He said that soon after the end of the war in 2009, he had proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia. But no such thing had happened. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk and surveillance of political enemies and their children, the former Army Commander said. Fonseka said: “


By The Island
April 25, 2019

Opinion, Politics

Pro democracy candidate charged by Thailand’s election commission

The EC accuse a pro-democracy leader of holding media shares while running for office. The Election Commission (EC) yesterday unanimously resolved to press a charge against Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit over alleged violation of media shareholding rules. Citing investigations by two EC panels, Sawang Boonmee, the EC deputy secretary-general, told a press conference that Thanathorn had allegedly violated the law by owning or holding 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Company while registering as a candidate for the general election. “Thanathorn’s share certificate number is from 1350001 to 2025000,” said Sawang, referring to the findings of two panels the EC had set up to investigate the case. Thanathorn was accus


By Cod Satrusayang
April 24, 2019

Opinion, Politics

PM Imran’s statement in Iran comes under intense opposition attack

Khan said in Tehran that Pakistan has been used as a staging area for attacks in Iran. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public acknowledgement in Tehran that terrorists had in the past misused Pakistani territory to undertake attacks against Iran came under a blistering attack by the opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday. Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari defended the prime minister, saying his statement was being quoted out of context. In an unprecedented, albeit bold move, Imran, while speaking at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a round of talks on Monday, had said: “I know Iran has suffered from terrorism [perpetrated] by groups operating from Pakistan. …we [need to] have trust in each other that both countries will not allow any terrorist activity fr


By Dawn
April 24, 2019

Opinion, Politics

Japan’s ruling party loses by-elections

LDP loses 2 lower house by-elections. Candidates of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost in both of Sunday’s House of Representatives by-elections, in Osaka Constituency No. 12 and Okinawa Constituency No. 3, according to preliminary reports by The Yomiuri Shimbun. The results could serve as a harbinger of the House of Councillors elections this summer and show how the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being evaluated. In Osaka, the by-election was held following the death of the LDP’s Tomokatsu Kitagawa, who was the former state minister of the environment. Fumitake Fujita, 38, of Nippon Ishin no Kai secured the seat after beating three other competitors, including the LDP’s Shinpei Kitakawa, 32, also supported by junior coalition partner Komeito. Other contenders were Takeshi Miyamoto, 59, an independent and former lower hous


By The Japan News
April 22, 2019

Opinion, Politics

Feud between ruling and opposition bloc deepens in Korea

The opposition party is reorganizing and assembling as pressure builds on Moon Jae-in. The friction between the ruling bloc and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party is showing signs of intensifying following a conservative rally Saturday. On Saturday, estimated 20,000 conservatives gathered in central Seoul in a rally organized by the Liberty Korea Party. The party’s rally, the first major demonstration organized by the party since Hwang Kyo-ahn took office as its leader, was joined by members of smaller conservative groups supporting former President Park Geun-hye. Hwang Kyo-ahn (center), head of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, and members of the conservative


By The Korea Herald
April 22, 2019

Opinion, Politics

Asian press freedom under threat

Some common themes and little optimism as press freedom takes a back seat in Asia. The media advocacy group, Reporters without Borders—also known by its international name Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF—released its 2019 World Press Freedom Index on Thursday. The report tells a bleak story of the future of news ecosystems around the world, and warns of increasing danger for the men and women who have made reporting the news their jobs. The index’s assessment of Asia-Pacific’s press freedom describes an atmosphere of increasing cyber harassment, physical danger and intimidation for reporters—factors that unsurprisingly have led to growing levels self-censorship across the region. A look at a the state of press freedom in a few countries around the region reveals some recurring patterns: Legal systems have been increasingly wielded as weapons by governments to silence media outlets and indiv


By Quinn Libson
April 21, 2019