Dalai Lama urges Suu Kyi to act on Rohingya

  • AFP, Sydney
  • Updated: May 28, 2015 13:14 IST

The Dalai Lama has urged fellow Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to help Myanmar's persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority amid a worsening migration crisis.

Despite thousands of Rohingya fleeing to Southeast Asia to escape poverty and discriminatory treatment by the country's Buddhist majority, opposition leader Suu Kyi is yet to comment.

Observers have attributed this to fears about alienating voters ahead of elections slated for November.

The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said she must speak up, adding that he had already appealed twice to her in person since 2012.

"It's very sad. In the Burmese (Myanmar) case I hope Aung San Suu Kyi, as a Nobel laureate, can do something," he told Thursday's The Australian newspaper in an interview ahead of a visit to Australia next week.

"I met her two times, first in London and then the Czech Republic. I mentioned about this problem and she told me she found some difficulties, that things were not simple but very complicated. But in spite of that I feel she can do something," he added.

The issue was in the the spotlight this month when thousands of Rohingya, together with Bangladeshi migrants, were rescued on Southeast Asian shores after fleeing by boat.

The crisis has brought attention to the discrimination faced by the one million Rohingya in western Myanmar, a group widely seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

"This is not sufficient. There's something wrong with humanity's way of thinking. Ultimately we are lacking concern for others' lives, others' well-being," he said.

Malaysia has been a favourite destination for the Rohingya. Migrants often travelled to Thailand by boat, then overland to northern Malaysia. But Thailand began a crackdown on smuggling following the discovery of mass graves there, which appears to have thrown regional human-trafficking routes into chaos.

Seven camps, some with dozens of graves believed to contain the bodies of Rohingya, have been uncovered close to the Malaysian border.

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