An online petition is calling on a charity founded by Aung San Suu Kyi to support Rohingya refugees ahead of a major fundraiser it will hold next month. The petition has received a trickle of support since it was launched on Wednesday.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto head of government, launched the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation in 2012 to “improve the education, health, and welfare of the people of Myanmar”. The charity is named after her mother, Khin Kyi, who served as a government minister and ambassador to India in the 50s and 60s.
In early October, the foundation will hold a Black-Tie Charity Gala Dinner with the aim of raising at least US$70,000 for “worthy causes”. The description of the event does offers little elaboration on what causes the funds will support, only saying they will benefit “underprivileged communities in Myanmar”.
The creators of the petition appear to have seized on the ambiguity of the foundation’s commitments in order to push it toward helping Rohingya refugees, nearly a million of whom have been forced from their homes and into refugee camps in Bangladesh over the last two years by Myanmar’s military. Tens of thousands are believed to have been raped or murdered, and hundreds of thousands face shortages of resources and security in Bangladesh.
“State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has defended military violence against the Rohingya for years, and last month, the UN said she had ‘contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes’,” the petition reads. “Her supporters around the world want to see the once-respected democracy activist stand up for Myanmar’s most abused population. Supporting them through the foundation named after her mother would be an easy yet meaningful gesture.”
It goes on: “The invitation to the upcoming gala says the funds it raises will go to ‘worthy causes’. If the foundation is looking for a more specific cause, the cause of the stateless Rohingya, who have endured a genocide, is an obvious choice.”
The Black-Tie Charity Gala Dinner will be held at Yangon’s Sedona Hotel on Oct. 5. Entertainers Tin Moe Lwin and Maung Maung Aye will host the fundraiser.
A link to the petition can be found here.