Saturday 17 March 2018

Thompson calls on Suu Kyi to bring peace to Myanmar

Rohingya after arriving on a boat to Bangladesh yesterday in Shah Porir Dip. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images
Rohingya after arriving on a boat to Bangladesh yesterday in Shah Porir Dip. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

James Rothwell

Emma Thompson, the award-winning British actress, has urged Aung San Suu Kyi to restore peace to Myanmar after the UN said it feared the worst was yet to come in the Rohingya crisis.

In a letter addressed directly to the leader, and seen by 'The Daily Telegraph', Ms Thompson wrote: "Few people have inspired me in my life the way you do ... but I cannot stay silent when women and children suffer."

Boris Johnson also called on Ms Suu Kyi yesterday to use her "moral capital" to put an end to the persecution of her country's Muslim minority, a situation which he described as an "abomination".

The British Foreign Secretary described events in Myanmar as a "tragedy" involving "gross abuses of human rights".

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson

Ms Thompson (58) told yesterday how she was "overjoyed" when Ms Suu Kyi came to power in 2015 after spending two decades under house arrest, and was dazzled by her "energy and verve" when the pair met in 2011.

"Since then I never stopped following Myanmar's progress," she wrote.

"You shed light on your beautiful country ... the hope I felt was so big and yet it was nothing in comparison to the hope of the millions of people who placed their future in your hands."

However, Ms Thompson went on to say she felt deeply anguished by reports of a brutal crackdown by the army, which has forced around 400,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.

"I am devastated by the suffering of those affected, and extremely worried that the military build-up and the response by Myanmar security forces will only lead to more suffering and to an ever-deteriorating humanitarian crisis," she wrote.

"You have been silenced for so many years.

"How much I would like to hear you speak up to defend all innocent civilians suffering in your country.

"You have always stood firm in the defence of peace and democracy, please make this a reality now for all people of Rakhine, and especially the Rohingya. We believed in you then and we believe in you now."

Irish Independent

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