The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) associates itself fully with the calls by international NGOs and other organizations calling for direct UN intervention in the humanitarian catastrophe occurring in the Rakhine Province of Myanmar where hundreds of thousands of the Rohingya population have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh for refuge.
This human tragedy is occurring under the direct watch of a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, who is the head of Government in Myanmar. This Government has to take responsibility for the actions of the military and paramilitary forces who are waging a war of genocide against the Rohingya population who are of the Muslim faith. What is not mentioned is that the conflict in Rakhine Province is rooted in the fact that the Rohingya population have been denied citizenship and human rights in Myanmar, which is their country of birth, and have been engaged in this struggle for protection, justice and rights against the oppression of the Government.
NADEL adds it's voice to that of our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Tutu, in calling on Ms Suu Kyi, as head of Government of Myanmar, to bring a halt to these atrocities and honour the principles of the award that she received and purportedly stands for. Her decision to not address the UN General Assembly, is disappointing and of concern. If Ms Suu Kyi is being held "hostage" by her military leaders, then she should resign and send the appropriate message of hope to the Rohingya victims. If she continues to remain silent then she will be deemed to be complicit in this act of genocide and should face the full force of sanctions, and UN investigations into crimes against humanity together with her military leaders. In the meanwhile she should also be called to account by the Nobel authorities for dishonouring the award that she received.
NADEL also hopes that the Gandhi Memorial Committee headed by Ms Ela Gandhi from Durban will issue an appropriate statement to distance themselves from Ms Suu Kyi's failure to stop the killings and destruction of the villages of the Rohingya people, as this Committee also awarded Ms Suu Kyi, the Gandhi Memorial Award for her past struggle for human rights.
The silence of these organizations that bestow these awards is an embarrassment to other awardees and in particular, a blight on the memory of the great Mahatma Gandhi.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL), SOUTH AFRICA