Duterte tells Aung San Suu Kyi: Ignore human rights criticism

Jan 28, 2018, 00:34
Duterte tells Aung San Suu Kyi: Ignore human rights criticism

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte told Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, heavily criticised overseas for failing to stand up for largely stateless Rohingyas, that she shouldn't bother about rights activists as they are "just a noisy bunch".

"The relationship with the West, with human rights groups, with the United Nations, with the global media is bad", he told news agencies on phone from New Mexico on Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he advised Nobel Peace Prize victor, Aung San Suu Kyi, to ignore criticisms from human rights organizations as he continued to lambast critics of his drug war.

The Rohingya issue is one of the most controversial in Myanmar and has plagued the country, also known as Burma, for decades.

He lambasted Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi for an "absence of moral leadership" over Rakhine and described her "furious response" to his calls to free two Reuters journalists arrested while covering the crisis.

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The State Counsellor's office said that during discussions in Myanmar's capital on January 22, "it became evident" that Richardson was not interested in providing advice as one of five global members of a new panel on a crisis that has seen almost 690,000 Rohingya flee a military crackdown to Bangladesh.

"Zaw Htay said the issue of the arrests was not in Richardson's mandate and he should not have brought it up at his meeting with Suu Kyi".

Some, however, say her silence is a calculated political move not to alienate the powerful military and many people from Myanmar who consider the Rohingya as outcasts in their country. He said he had informed the U.S. Ambassador in Yangon and the State Department of his intention to resign but did not seek their guidance or permission to do so. Richardson however the board he was on of dragging its feet, of becoming a "cheerleading squad for government policy as opposed to proposing genuine policy changes that are desperately needed".

"It became evident that the intent of Governor Bill Richardson was ... to pursue his own agenda", the statement said. "She needs to start listening to her friends, people like me that are giving her frank advice that things are not going well, but she doesn't seem to want to hear this". "And she exploded", he said on Friday.

Days after Bangladesh made a decision to postpone the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar, a senior official of the United Nations (UN) stated that it is still not safe for the refugees to go back to their homeland.

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Fellow members of the advisory board, which included five Myanmar nationals, defended their work on Thursday and denied participating in a whitewashing of the crisis.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed earlier this month to complete the voluntary repatriation of all the refugees.

The former diplomat affirmed that "the main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash", according to Al Jazeera.

"Too much emphasis or importance for the libertarians about human rights here and there".

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