UN investigation condemns Aung San Suu Kyi for indifference as Myanmar military massacred Rohingya Muslims

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government failed to protect Rohingya Muslims from the military’s atrocities, according to UN investigators. File/Reuters, AFP
Updated 28 August 2018

UN investigation condemns Aung San Suu Kyi for indifference as Myanmar military massacred Rohingya Muslims

  • Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, had “not used her de facto position as head of government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events
  • About 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown in August 2017

DHAKA: Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi failed to protect Rohingya Muslims from mass murder orchestrated by the country’s military commander-in-chief and five generals, who should be prosecuted for genocide, a damning UN report said on Monday.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, had “not used her de facto position as head of government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events,” UN investigators said.

Her government “through their acts and omissions ... have contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes,” their report said.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown in August 2017. The refugees described arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs.

A UN investigation panel interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analyzed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images.

Their report detailed a horrifying list of atrocities including murder, enforced disappearance, torture, and sexual violence “on a massive scale.” The investigators said an estimate that up to 10,000 Rohingya had been killed was “conservative.”

They also found that soldiers had carried out “large-scale gang rape,” sometimes of as many as 40 girls and women at once, in at least 10 Rakhine villages.

“The scale, brutality and systematic nature of these violations indicate that rape and sexual violence are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorize or punish a civilian population, and are used as a tactic of war,” the report said.

The report named the military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing and five senior generals as having orchestrated the crackdown. Panel member Christopher Sidoti said all six generals should be prosecuted for genocide, even in the absence of a “smoking gun” to prove who had ordered the crimes.

Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar told Arab News on Monday they had expected more of Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We were happy when she won the election and formed the government, but the level of our sufferings and torture from the state authority were doubled when she took over power,” said Abul Hashem, 47.

Nurul Islam, 55, said: “During her regime our women were abused and raped. How can she compensate for this crime against humanity?”

Karim Mollah, 42, said: “If she can’t protect us she should have stepped down. She has snatched our present days and stolen the future of our next generation.”

The UN report also criticized Facebook for allowing its network to be used to spread hatred and incite violence. The social media giant immediately shut down pages run by Min Aung Hlaing, other senior military figures and the army’s TV network.


World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

Updated 25 February 2020

World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

  • Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home
  • The news came less than two weeks after Watanabe was officially recognized by Guinness World Records

TOKYO: A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said Tuesday.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said.

The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face.”

He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

The oldest man in Japan is now Issaku Tomoe, who is 110 years old, according to Jiji Press, although it was not clear if Tomoe holds the title globally.

The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recognized as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person — Jeanne Louise Calment of France — died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness.