Aung San Suu Kyi at today’s World Economic Forum BBC debate in Naypyidaw (Photo: Simon Roughneen)
Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected criticism leveled at her over her silence about the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim community, while announcing her desire to run for president.
The Muslim minority of Rohingyas in Myanmar accounts for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. The persecuted minority has faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country achieved independence in 1948.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Myanmar’s government to address the plight of the Rohingya Muslim population and to protect the community against Buddhist extremists.
“At the moment nobody seems to be very satisfied with me because I’m not taking sides,” Suu Kyi said. “I have not been silent. It’s just that they are not hearing what they want to hear from me.”
“I do not want to aggravate the situation by saying that one community is wrong or the other community is wrong,” she added.
Suu Kyi made the remarks during a meeting with foreign business executives in the city of Naypyidaw on Thursday.
She also expressed her political ambitions and said, “If I pretended that I didn’t want to be president I wouldn’t be honest. And I would rather be honest with my people than otherwise… I want to run for president.”
Under the current law, her marriage to a foreigner disqualifies her for Myanmar presidency.