Rohingya or not, no one should be under military rule, says human rights activist

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh detention camps rejoiced when Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained following a military takeover on Monday.

But not human rights and Rohingya activist Wai Wai Nu.

“As a Rohingya it’s difficult … Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t defend the Rohingya,” said Wai, who is the founder and director of the Women’s Peace Network.

“But it’s not just about Suu Kyi … it’s about military dictatorship. We don’t want the people, Rohingya or non-Rohingya, to be under military dictatorship.”

Aung, who stood for democracy and human rights that eventually earned her a Nobel Prize, had come under fire in recent years for her failure in championing the Rohingyas who have been forced to flee the country due to ethnic cleansing.

Many of them have escaped to Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, posing a refugee and security problem to these nations.

Aung was brought to a Myanmar court on Wednesday and was charged for breaching “an import and export law”. This was after authorities searched her home and found 10 walkie-talkies and other communication devices that were deemed “illegal”.

Several other National League for Democracy (NLD) senior officials had also been arrested.

“We want to see the release of the detainees and their well-being (protected). We want to see Parliament resume and the elected MPs carry out their mandates.”

Wai, who spoke at a joint press conference on the implications of the Myanmar military coup on human rights and democracy on Tuesday, called for a more comprehensive and bold response from the international community.

The military said the coup was due to election fraud last November when the NLD party secured a huge victory.

“We need concrete action. We want to see sanctions against the military, businesses linked to the military and their partners. The establishment of a global arms embargo must be put in place.”

Myanmar’s new Cabinet held its first meeting on Wednesday. The military leaders, among others, discussed the continuation of domestic tourism, revitalising the economy and increasing job opportunities.