Myanmar’s Military, Political Leaders United Against Rohingya ‘Threat’

Suu Kyi Condemns International 'Fake News' on Situation

Myanmar’s de facto political ruler, Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, and the military that long kept her party out of power, seem to be increasingly unified as international attention on the country shifts from its past troubles to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

The Rohingya, mostly Muslim but also including a Hindu minority are stateless people, denied citizenship under Myanmar law. This puts them in a very difficult situation, where Myanmar’s ruling NLD Party considers them “illegal immigrants,” but by and large they aren’t from anywhere else.

Because they’re not citizens, they are denied freedom of movement and have very limited rights in general in Myanmar. This has also led to them being vilified internally, as a combination of criminal, illegal immigrants, terrorists, and any other threat to national security that can be thought of. NLD leader Nyan Win has openly advocated herding them all into camps for “security reasons,” insisting their lack of citizenship would allow the government to do that.

This, and the army’s crackdown on the Rohingya, has fueled international criticism. The NLD and the army are both very unified on the anti-Rohingya issue, however, claiming the international reports are “fake news’ and that claims of ethnic cleansing are false.

To be fair, Myanmar isn’t exactly a haven of free and independent media, and particularly in impoverished Rakhine, where this is all taking place. This makes it virtually impossible to discern the details of what is happening. All that’s clear is that large numbers of Rohingya have fled, mostly to Bangladesh, and Myanmar’s non-Rohingya population is broadly in favor of this, however it happened.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.