Source ABC, 18 Aug
A UK-based Burmese scholar has warned Burma’s opposition NLD party, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, are implicit in the racism that’s fuelling ongoing tension between Buddhists and the minority Muslim Rohingya.
Clashes this year between ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and the Rohingya in Burma’s west have left more than 70 people dead.
The government has since clamped down on the Rohingya, a minority already described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted peoples.
Dr Maung Zarni, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, says there is strong evidence the overwhelmingly Buddhist government is behind the campaign against the Rohingya, motivated by racism.
And he says the opposition NLD party, including Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, are implicit in that racism as they campaign to win a landslide victory at the next election.
"So in other words, Suu Kyi needs to keep the Burmese majority happy, ideologically, and that requires that she stays clear of the Rohingya issue, regardless of whether it’s a direct challenge to her image as a human rights champion," he said.
He’s described ingrained racism within Burma’s majority Buddhist society as the ‘scariest’ part of Burma’s recent moves towards democracy.
"The Burmese democratic transition is bringing about not necessarily concrete and irreversible democratisation process but the most ugly racism the world is witnessing," Dr Maung Zarni said.