U Win Htain from NLD. (Photo: Saw Zin Nyi)

U Win Htain from NLD. (Photo: Saw Zin Nyi)

Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has made no direct statements about the the thousands of Rohingya people from Burma who were discovered floating in boats on the south-east Asian seas.

It was only at the urging of reporters that her party the National League for Democracy (NLD) even addressed the issue.

After repeated requests for an interview with senior NLD leaders our reporter Saw Zin Nyi finally got time with U Win Htein the central executive committee member of NLD.


Q: Do you recognize those Rohingya who are living in Burma/Myanmar now?

"It is not our job to recognize them or not. It is the job of the government . So you should ask the right question to the right people. How do we accept them? That is meaningless. This is A wrong question."

Q: So it means NLD do not recoginze Rohingya’s?

"What do you mean by accepting them?"
 
Q: I mean the Rohingya who live in the camps in Rakhine State, Burma at the moment.  
"I never said the word Rohingya. According to the news , some boat people are from Bangladesh and some are from Myanmar. No one is saying Rohingya. What are you asking? This is not a question.  The government and the international organization must help the refugees and then should send them back to their country. They should verify them and sent them back their countries."

Q: Recently the NLD told ‘the independent’ newspaper that the NLD --if in power --would grant citizenship to Rohingya’s for have lived in the country for at least two generations. Can you explain this policy?

"This has to do with the 1982 citizenship law. I don’t know all the details about this law but people who have lived for three generations should be accepted as citizens. But in my opinion, if they live in the country for two generations, they should be given citizenship. We would consider making second generation people citizens if we get into power and become the government."


Q: Many people do not accept ‘Rohingya’ in Myanmar. It is very controversial. What is NLD stand?

"You should check and read your own history. There is no word Rohingya in Myanmar OR abroad. There is no historical book of Rohingya. The one which does existed is a fake one. It is a made-up one. The word Rohingya came from Mujahit. After we got independent, the government army fought with them and they ran back to Bangladesh. Some came back to our country again. They just come and go."

"In 1985, when the socialist government run the country and verified the citizenship law, the government sent them away from the country but the international community condemned the government, so later the government accepted them again. The government sent 30,000 of them away but 50,000 people came back again. Then, the name Rohingya started appearing around that time. So we do not accept the name of Rohingya. I do not think there is a history of Rohingya internationally."  

Q: The NLD leader DawAung San SuuKyi, the Nobel literate winner, is quiet on the Rohingya issue? Why it is so?

"We released a statement related this issue. This is her voice. This is Aung San SuuKyi voice. This statement has been approved by the central executive committee member’s. We always explain to the international communities, there should be rule of law and respect for human rights and we have to solve this crisis. Saying that she is quiet is a nonsense accusation."

Read More: Myanmar Minister: We didn’t Cause the Rohingya Migrant Crisis

Asia Calling reporter Saw Zin Nyi speaking with U Win Htein the central executive committee member of NLD.

The NLD statement said that people now living in IDP camps in the Rakine state should be as quickly as possible be settled to improve and develop the economic situation and welfare of the residents of the area. Addressing the issue of citizenship fairly and transparently would help the current situation the statement said.

Nationalists have also called Aung San Suu Kyi a “the Muslim lover”.

In a country that is 90% Buddhist there is little sympathy to be found for the Rohingya cause, and expressing support could be political suicide for both the NLD and the military-backed ruling party less than six months before parliamentary elections.

 

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