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Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire calls for Suu Kyi to resign over Rohingya crisis

Mairead Maguire has said the group is looking for legal options to ensure justice for the Rohingya Muslims
Julhas Alam, Press Association

Peace campaigner Mairead Maguire has joined other Nobel laureates in accusing Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the nation's military of genocide over their role in violence which forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

The laureates, who are on a trip to Bangladesh to visit the sprawling refugee camps where the Rohingya are living, said at a news conference in Dhaka that their fellow Nobel Peace laureate Ms Suu Kyi cannot avoid responsibility.

One of the laureates, Yemen's Tawakkol Karman, urged Ms Suu Kyi to "wake up" or "face prosecution".

While Ms Maguire and Iran's Shirin Ebadi promised to work to bring those responsible to justice.

All three were emotionally charged as they unanimously called the violence against Rohingya "genocide".

Ms Karman said: "There is no other definition, it is genocide, genocide against innocent people.

"Millions of people (have) been displaced from their cities, women (have) been raped, all the women, we met like 100 women, all of them (have) been raped."

She said they were overwhelmed as they talked to the children.

"Most of the children we met ... fled to Bangladesh without their families. Their fathers, their mothers (have) been killed, been murdered," Karman added.

She said that as Myanmar's leader, Ms Suu Kyi should not be silent.

"She did not tell the truth to the world. She should stop her silence, she should wake up and stop this genocide."

She urged Ms Suu Kyi to resign, otherwise she will "face prosecution".

Ms Maguire said they were looking for legal options to ensure justice, saying: "We plan to take (Myanmar's) government to the international court of justice."

Ms Ebadi also criticised her native country, Iran, and other Middle Eastern Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, for not doing enough for the Rohingya.

The laureates also met Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina and promised to work toward resolving the crisis.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August 2017, when Myanmar's military retaliated following attacks on security posts by a Rohingya insurgent group.

In November, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement to gradually repatriate the Rohingya in "safety, security and dignity," but the process has been delayed.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as an official ethnic group, and they face intense discrimination and persecution. Burmese authorities maintain that security operations in Rakhine state have been aimed at clearing out insurgents.

Bangladesh said it will not repatriate any Rohingya against their will, but has urged the international community to continue to put pressure on Burma to create conditions for a sustainable repatriation.

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