Conservative peer and former cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi has forcefully criticised Boris Johnson’s response to the ongoing violence in Burma.
On Saturday, the Foreign Secretary called on Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto Burmese Prime Minister, to “stop the violence” that has broken out against Rohingya Muslims in the country, at the same time as praising her as “one of the most inspiring figures of our age.”
Mr Johnson said in a statement: “Aung San Suu Kyi is rightly regarded as one of the most inspiring figures of our age but the treatment of the Rohingya is alas besmirching the reputation of Burma.
“She faces huge challenges in modernising her country. I hope she can now use all her remarkable qualities to unite her country, to stop the violence and to end the prejudice that afflicts both Muslims and other communities in Rakhine.
“It is vital that she receives the support of the Burmese military, and that her attempts at peacemaking are not frustrated. She and all in Burma will have our full support in this.”
Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim woman to serve in the UK cabinet, condemned the Foreign Secretary’s words in a tweet. She wrote: “When brutal regimes murder THEIR own citizens -how WE respond to such brutality defines our values and who we are.”
She also tweeted: “A campaign of genocide is happening now on the watch of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi & this is Foreign Office response?”
Malala Yousafzai has also called on Aung San Suu Kyi act on the “tragic and shameful” treatment of the Rohingya people
In a statement on Twitter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, 20, told her fellow laureate that the “world is waiting” for her to act over unrest, with tens of thousands of people fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh.
Ms Yousafzai’s intervention comes after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned Ms Suu Kyi, Burma’s de facto leader, that the treatment of the ethnic minority group is “besmirching” the country’s reputation.
Burmese security officials and insurgents from the Rohingya are accusing each other of burning down villages and committing atrocities in Rakhine state in the west of the country.
Calling for an end to the violence, Ms Yousafzai said she had been left heartbroken by reports of young children being killed by security forces and urged the Burmese government to grant the group citizenship.
She wrote: “Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment.
“I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same.
“The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting.”
Almost 400 people have died in the recent unrest, with the Burmese military accused of committing crimes against humanity by campaigners.
Ms Yousafzai wrote: “Stop the violence. Today we have seen pictures of small children killed by Myanmar’s security forces. These children attacked no-one, but still their homes were burned to the ground.
“If their home is not Myanmar, where they have lived for generations, then where is it? Rohingya people should be given citizenship in Myanmar, the country where they were born.”
According to the UN’s refugee agency an estimated 73,000 people have crossed the border into Bangladesh since violence flared on 25 August, leaving relief camps near full capacity.
Ms Yousafzai, who narrowly avoided death in 2012 after being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban for her outspoken campaigning over girls’ rights to an education, called for more countries to offer the Rohingya food, shelter and schooling.
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