Ahead of Myanmar’s general election, much of the international media coverage has centered on the Rohingya Muslim minority living in squalid displacement camps in the Western part of the country, banned from voting and subjected to increasing persecution from Buddhist nationalists.
An investigation by Al Jazeera together with Yale Law Clinic last week argued that there were grounds to call it genocide.
Opposition leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been silent on the issue, leading some to believe she is appeasing Buddhist nationalists ahead of this weekend’s polls.
But when asked by Sky News if she would condemn the “genocide” of the Rohingya during a press conference at her house in Yangon this morning, she told the media not to exaggerate the problem.
BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher live-tweeted the event.
A German journalist apparently followed up the question, prompting Suu Kyi to deflect again:
Suu Kyi also batted away criticism that her party had not selected a single Muslim candidate to run in the election. For the first time in Myanmar’s history, it is likely that no Muslim MP will be elected – the ruling party has not chosen any as candidates, either.
Photo / Coconuts Yangon
Correction: A previous version of this post stated that Harvard Law Clinic had collaborated with human rights organizations to classify the persecution of the Rohingya as ‘genocide’. It was Yale. We apologize for the error.