Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Buddha would have helped persecuted Rohingya refugees, Dalai Lama says

Buddha would have helped persecuted Rohingya refugees, Dalai Lama says

Renewed violence has engulfed Myanmar's Rakhine State, where tensions between the mostly-Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority and the country's Myanmar and largely Buddhist majority have simmered and flared for decades.

"He would definitely give help to those poor Muslims".

"I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired", wrote Tutu, "but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya".

Nearly 90% of Myanmar's population are Buddhists, according to government figures, while the Rohingya have always been marginalized for their Muslim faith.

Rohingya insurgents have declared a monthlong truce in order to allow humanitarian aid into Myanmar's Rakhine state, where military "cleansing operations" have left hundreds dead and forced almost 300,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

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The Dalai Lama has called on Myanmar to follow the example of the Buddha and come to the aid of the country's persecuted Rohingya minority, more than 300,000 of whom have fled their home province in two weeks.

We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. While the ragtag Rohingya militancy does have loose support from individuals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, most analysts regard it as an operation focused on defense and revenge against the Myanmar military.

The Dalai Lama is the latest global human rights leader to call for an end to the violence.

Aung San Suu Kyi, feted for her years of peaceful opposition to Myanmar's military rulers, has been urged to speak up for the Rohingya, with Muslim nations and the UN leading condemnation of her government.

But Murphy was careful not to directly criticize the country's civilian government, led by Suu Kyi, which he said represents the "best opportunity in generations for Burma to get on the right track" - referring to the country by its colonial-era name.

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Tutu described the campaign against the Rohingya as a "slow genocide".

In an open letter, Tutu told his fellow Nobel Peace Prize victor that it was "incongruous for a symbol of righteousness" to lead a country where violence against the Rohingya is being carried out.

"If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep", Tutu said in a statement.

"This is a political issue because the party that has been carrying out the atrocities is Myanmar's government, at the top of which is a cruel woman who has won the Nobel Peace Prize".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar on Wednesday, when he discussed the security situation with Myanmar's leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

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