US Diplomat Publicizes Resignation From Rohingya Disaster Panel In Scathing Assertion

Kamran Reza Chowdhury  BenarNews

Kamran Reza Chowdhury BenarNews

He tore into Aung San Suu Kyi for an "absence of moral leadership" over the problem, and described her "furious response" to his calls to free two Reuters journalists arrested while covering the crisis.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, who has known Suu Kyi for over 30 years and visited her during her lengthy period of house arrest, told CNN this week "she's changed, she's become, unfortunately, a politician afraid of the military and afraid to make the tough decisions to resolve one of the worst humanitarian crises in history".

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said he pities Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi for being in the storm of global criticism over her handling of the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Until this week, Richardson was on a board tasked with implementing the recommendations of a commission helmed by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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In a statement Friday, Suu Kyi's office said she sacked Richardson, accusing him of attempting to "pursue his own agenda".

Duterte said he had a chance to talk to Suu Kyi, Myanmar's state counselor, and told the latter not to mind her critics.

Duterte again launched another tirade against human rights groups who criticize his war on drugs.

Dr. Surakiart, 59, was chosen past year by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to head a 10-member board that will advise on how to implement the recommendations of an earlier commission headed by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan. It had made recommendations for more press freedom, he said.

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A spokeswoman for Richardson said the Myanmar government's remarks were "not true" and referred requests for comment to the diplomat's original statement, in which he said he could not in "good conscience" sit on a panel he feared would only "whitewash" the causes of the Rohingya crisis.

On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on "Physical Arrangement" which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland following a deal between the two countries in November a year ago regarding the repatriation.

"It is critical that their rights and needs in terms of protection and aid are front and center in any agreement to return families to Myanmar".

Other demands include the return of occupied land to Rohingya refugees, as well as the rebuilding of homes, mosques, and schools.

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Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe, who both covered the Rohingya crisis extensively from within the country, were taken into custody in December for allegedly intending "to send important security documents regarding security forces in Rakhine State to foreign agencies overseas", according to Myanmar's information ministry. "I just felt that my advice and counsel would not be heeded".

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