Aung San Suu Kyi Lacks Moral Leadership

Aung San Suu Kyi Lacks Moral LeadershipAung San Suu Kyi Lacks Moral Leadership

A veteran American diplomat has resigned from a panel set up to advise Myanmar about the Rohingya crisis calling it a “whitewash” and questioning Aung San Suu Kyi’s “moral leadership”.

Bill Richardson, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, quit as the 10-member advisory board was making its first visit to western Rakhine State, from where nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled in recent months, ABC News reported.

“The main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash,” Richardson said, adding he did not want to be part of “a cheerleading squad for the government”.

Myanmar armed forces have been accused by Rohingya witnesses and human rights activists of carrying out killings, rapes and arson in a campaign senior officials in the United Nations and United States have described as ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar rejects that label and has denied nearly all the allegations.

Richardson said he got into an argument with Suu Kyi during a meeting on Monday with other members of the board, when he brought up the case of two Reuters reporters on trial, accused of breaching the country’s Officials Secrets Act.

He said Suu Kyi’s response was “furious”, saying the case of the reporters, “was not part of the work of the advisory board”.

The argument continued at a dinner later that evening, the former New Mexico governor said.

Richardson said he was also, “taken aback by the vigor with which the media, the United Nations, human rights groups and in general the international community were disparaged” during the last three days of meetings the board held with Myanmar officials.

The board is chaired by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Surakiart Sathirathai, but Richardson said he was not “genuinely committed” to implementing recommendations regarding the issues of Rohingya safety, citizenship, peace, stability and development.


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