Tag Archives: distration

Aung San Suu Kyi is turning a blind eye to human rights in the name of politics

The Burmese politician’s visit to Australia will spark praise from politicians – an unhelpful distraction from the extremely serious abuses taking place against Muslims in her homeland

By Emanuel Stoakes, theguardian.com

Burmese politician and international celebrity Aung San Suu Kyi flew into Sydney yesterday to begin a brief tour of Australia, during which time she will meet the prime minister and other members of the government.

If her recent visits to Europe are anything to go by, the Nobel laureate’s arrival will be a triumphal affair involving inevitable cheering crowds, mutual congratulation and much rhetoric about shared values on display. Politicians will no doubt wish to associate themselves with her image and bask in her fading effulgence, while ordinary Australians will very probably receive the heroine of Burma’s democracy movement with open arms.

Yet for all the deserved plaudits she will receive from her hosts, the sheer spectacle of her visit may amount to an unhelpful distraction from extremely serious abuses taking place in her homeland; indeed it may even seem unwarranted, given that the smiling icon has betrayed some of her country’s most vulnerable people.

The Rohingya of west Burma are the most needy, despised and endangered ethnic group in the country. The Muslim minority is stateless (unwanted by both Burma and Bangladesh), impoverished and has been subjected to at least three brutal pogroms over the past 40 years, two of them directly at the hands of Burmese government forces. The latest bout of extreme anti-Rohingya persecution in the country’s restive Rakhine state, where the group is remains subjected to ethnic cleansing, endures to this day.

When asked about the plight of Muslims during her recent visit to the UK, Suu Kyi told BBC journalist Mishal Husain that there was “no ethnic cleansing” and equivocated about the suffering of both Buddhists and Muslims in a manner that at least one other writer found “chilling” to watch.

For the record, there is no parity. Muslims in general, and the Rohingya in particular, have suffered far more from inter-religious clashes over the past two years, during which time children in Meiktila, Central Burma, were burnt alive and well over 100,000 Rohingya have been confined to squalid camps where they are systematically denied aid and where disease is rife. There have been organised attacks on the minority that amounted to crimes against humanity committed by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, whom Suu Kyi is keen to remind us are suffering too – from fear, not mass slaughter.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/27/aung-san-suu-kyi-is-turning-a-blind-eye-to-human-rights-in-the-name-of-politics

Military-Owned Businesses Pose Unique Corruption Risks

By Samuel Rubenfeld

Businesses owned by militaries around the world pose unique corruption risks to the sectors in which they operate, a new report found.

The report, released Thursday by Transparency International’s U.K. Defence and Security Programme, looks at how military-owned businesses are structured, what the inherent corruption risks are for these firms, and why and how the countries have made reforms to their military-owned companies.

“Once the military begins to engage in economic activities, it is often difficult to end such practices. In most situations, corruption becomes rampant and a major problem which (sic) harms the state and the national economy as well,” the report said.

Introducing a profit motive into the military increases the chance for distraction, the report said. Looking at case studies in China, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan, the report found that distraction often leads to outright graft, and in the more extreme cases that manifests itself in the form of embezzlement of state funds, tax fraud and even brutal coercive practices on workers. …..

Read more : The Wall Street Journal