AUNG SAN SUU KYI FACES CRITICSIM IN AUSTRLIA OVER "ETHNIC CLEANSING"




Hatim Khan – 18.03.2018- Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counselor of Myanmar is in Sydney for an ASEAN-Australia Special Summit this weekend. The regional organization comprising of south-east Asian nations aims to promote economic growth and regional stability among its members. Australia, by hosting this summit wants to improve its ties with the nations since trade with them amounted to over $ 100 billion in 2016-17 which is drastically more than Australia's other main trading partners such as US and Japan.

Myanmar's leader has been welcomed with protests and criticism since she landed in Australia for the Summit on the weekend. A group of Australian human rights lawyers have filed an application to prosecute the leader over atrocities her country's military has been committing over the Muslim citizens under her watch. Alison Battisson, an Australian human rights lawyer said, "We have launched a private prosecution application in the Magistrate's Court of Victoria accusing Aung San Suu Kyi of crimes against humanity, specifically the crime of deportation and forcible transfer of people" speaking to Al Jazeera last Friday. It is estimated that more than 700,000 Muslims have been forcefully driven out of Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh by the Myanmar military since last August.

Christian Porter, the Australian Attorney General however said that he would not allow such a prosecution to take place in Australia as Aung San Suu Kyi, being the head of state of Myanmar, is "immune from foreign criminal proceedings" and "cannot be arrested, detained, or served with court proceedings”.

Just last week, Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar while speaking to the Human Rights Council on said that the situation in Rakhine bears all the "hallmarks of genocide" and is a "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing". She further added that a transparent investigation should be carried out through which those people who gave the orders to commit atrocities against ethnic groups and individuals in Rakhine should be brought to justice.

In light of all this, human right activists in Australia took the streets in order to protest the de-facto leader of Myanmar. Amnesty International who reported cases of systematic rape, torture and killings in Myanmar in a report published last year, held a demonstration in Sydney to shed light on the plight of the Muslim minority in Myanmar by holding up banners that read "DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS" and "MYANMAR STOP ETHNIC CLEANSING".