Celebrations are under way in Myanmar as Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) are emerging victorious in a national election that is being described as a “dawn of a new era”.
Yet the political leaders, including the so-called icon of Burmese democracy, have colluded in the disenfranchisement of the Rohingya minority, by failing to condemn the wave of persecution and discrimination culminating in the deletion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from the voting register.
“This election can’t be described as either free or fair, because racial discrimination – the prohibition of which is a peremptory norm of international law – was at its heart. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya were deprived of the vote. What kind of democratic society can be built on the exclusion of an entire ethno-religious minority? Not one that the Equal Rights Trust could ever welcome,” said the Trust’s executive director Dimitrina Petrova.
She continued, “Suu Kyi has been urged, at least since 2012, to condemn anti-Rohingya discrimination. But it is clear by now that she has chosen populist power over human rights.”