YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — An international gathering about the plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims boasts a star-studded cast, with three Nobel Peace Prize laureates among those calling on the world to wake up to the unfolding tragedy.
But fellow winner and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will not be among them. She wasn’t invited.
During her 15 years under house arrest, Suu Kyi won admiration across the globe for her fiery speeches and scathing criticism of the military regime that ruled Myanmar, or Burma, at the time.
After her release in 2010, when ruling generals handed over power to a nominally civilian government, she won a seat in parliament.
The 69-year-old says she is a politician and that she never sought to be a human rights champion. Critics note she is carefully choosing her battles, in part because she has presidential ambitions.
In a predominantly Buddhist country of 50 million people, where there is much animosity toward the 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims, Suu Kyi (pronounced “Suu chee”) has opted to remain silent, even as the world watched in horror while more than 3,000 hungry, dehydrated Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants washed ashore in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand this month, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
The international gathering at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, was opened Tuesday by former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. His country pledged $1.3 million to help Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state by improving living conditions, preventing people from fleeing by sea and curbing tensions between ethnic groups.
The meeting featured video statements from Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu, Jos
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