Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Suu Kyi should have resigned over crackdown, says UN chief

Suu Kyi should have resigned over crackdown, says UN chief

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi leaves the stage after delivering an address to students at the Yangon University general assembly on Tuesday. YE AUNG THU/afp

Suu Kyi should have resigned over crackdown, says UN chief

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi should have resigned as Myanmar’s de facto leader over last year’s brutal army campaign against the Rohingya, the outgoing UN human rights chief has told the BBC.

A military crackdown in response to attacks by Rohingya militants drove around 700,000 of the Muslim minority from Rakhine state into Bangladesh, where they have given accounts of widespread rape, murder and arson targeting their villages.

Suu Kyi, once lionised as a defender of human rights, has been pilloried outside her country for failing to speak up for the Rohingya or condemn the actions of Myanmar’s army.

Instead, as streams of desperate Rohingya fled, Suu Kyi suggested an “iceberg of misinformation” had obscured the real picture of what had taken place inside Rakhine and backed the army campaign as a justified response to “terrorist” acts.

“She (Suu Kyi) was in a position to do something,” UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in the interview with the British broadcaster.

“She could have stayed quiet – or even better, she could have resigned.”

“There was no need for her to be the spokesperson of the Burmese military. She didn’t have to say this was an iceberg of misinformation. These were fabrications,” he said.

His stinging comments intensify days of damning criticism of Myanmar and its civilian and military leaders from the United Nations.

A UN report on Monday said Myanmar’s army chief Min Aung Hlaing should be prosecuted for “genocide” of the Muslim minority.

It also criticised Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and a one-time globally respected rights defender, for failing to use her “moral authority” to stem the violence.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s star politician who still draws widespread devotion inside the country for her long struggle for democracy, has seen her reputation shredded internationally with rights groups turning on her over a lack of public empathy for the stateless Rohingya.

Myanmar’s army has full control over defence and Suu Kyi’s civilian government has no ability to check its power.

But Hussein said the Nobel Leaurate should have leveraged her status inside Myanmar to defang the military operation against the Rohingya – or resigned – instead of effectively acting as a cloak for their actions.

“She could have said look, you know, I am prepared to be the nominal leader of the country but not under these conditions,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to