Community activist and anti-apartheid stalwart Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi wrote an open letter to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on behalf of the trustees of the Gandhi Development Trust.
This is in light of more than 18000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, fleeing the worst violence to grip north-west Myanmar in five years, while thousands more are stuck at the Bangladesh border or scrambling to reach it.
Here is a list of 5 important points within the open letter:
1. Ela Gandhi refers to Aung San Suu Kyi receiving the highest award in 2009, the International Mahatma Gandhi Award for Reconciliation and Peace. Aung San Suu Kyi was identified in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi who upheld human rights and justice for all as his key guiding principles.
2. Ghandi then eludes Aung San Suu Kyi being a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and that a co-Nobel Laureate. Ghandi then refers to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s recent request, calling on Aung San Suu Kyi to publicly react to the atrocities being carried out in the region.
3. Ghandi acknowledges the constraints of Suu Kyi’s position as State Counsellor, however it does not speak well to remain silent when humanitarian aid is denied to people who are already suffering from poverty and deprivation, and they are subjected to military attacks and abuses.
4. Reports have been widely circulated that thousands of people are being forced to flee from the area. These are facts that cannot be disputed. Ghandi urges Suu Kyi to use all her power and influence to ensure that the government of Myanmar engages with the people of the area in a humane and compassionate manner in order to avoid further attacks or reprisals which will only turn people into enemies.
5. The letter concludes by acknowledging Suu Kyi’s courageous life journey and the huge sacrifices she has made over many years to uphold the principles of non-violence, however the Trustees of Gandhi Development Trust respectfully call on her to ensure that the Government of Myanmar immediately ends these attacks and urgently creates a platform for dialogue and peaceful settlement.