UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres today said Aung San Suu Kyi now had her “last chance” to stop atrocities on ethnic Rohingya Muslims amid growing global outrage over her response to the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
“If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don’t see how this can be reversed in the future,” he said in an interview with BBC’s HARDtalk programme ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The UN chief also told the interview “pressure is needed to stop Myanmar carnage”.
The de facto Myanmar leader preferred to skip the UNGA as she is exposed to intense scrutiny over her response to the army-led crackdown on Rohingyas what is widely dubbed as an “ethnic cleansing campaign” forcing over 400,000 of them to flee their home and cross into neighbouring Bangladesh since August 25.
Guterres’s comments, however, came as Suu Kyi prepares to address Myanmar on the crisis for the first time, considered as a high wire act seeking to soothe global outrage without baiting the powerful army.
The UN secretary-general reiterated that the Rohingya should be allowed to return home, putting his weight to Bangladesh demands as the densely populated country bears the brunt of one of the world’s worst refugee influx.
Guterres also said it was clear that Myanmar’s military “still have the upper hand” in the country, putting pressure “to do what is being done on the ground” in Rakhine.
Suu Kya drew criticism for her initial silence over the carnage but she sparked massive outrage through her subsequent comments claiming that the crisis is being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”.