Søreide gives a clear message to Suu Kyi

Ine Eriksen SøreideForeign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide ( Conservative Party )Photo: Marita I. Wangberg, FD

The situation of the ‘Rohingya’ can’t continue, said Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide. Now she will raise the matter directly with authorities in Myanmar.


‘It’s a situation that has gone from bad to worse. Since late August, there are over 600,000 refugees who have gone to Bangladesh. There is almost no humanitarian access, and it is a spiral of violence that seems to continue’, said Søreide to NTB news.

On Sunday, she started a three-day long visit to Myanmar. Søreide warned that she will give the authorities in Norway a clear message about her view.

‘The situation can not continue,’ she said.

Norway’s demands are a full humanitarian approach, an end to the violence, and a safe return for refugees now living in Bangladesh.

Must meet Suu Kyi

Among others, Søreide will meet Myanmar’s political leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The peace prize winner has been heavily criticised internationally for doing too little to stop the violence against the rohingya.

Søreide is aware that Suu Kyi must also be held responsible. But the situation is difficult, because Suu Kyi has no control over the military, she pointed out.

The goal must be to engage the authorities in Myanmar in a constructive dialogue to meet the most urgent needs, said the Foreign Minister.

On Thursday, she informed parliament about the situation. Søreide warned against increasing pressure on Myanmar in such a way that the civilian authorities in the country were further marginalised.

Meeting space

Søreide is going to spend Sunday in Yangon. On Monday and Tuesday she is in Naypyidaw, where she will attend a meeting of foreign ministers from European and Asian countries.

For the fresh foreign minister, it will be an important opportunity for getting to know more colleagues from other countries. Many of them are meeting for the first time.

The program also includes a new meeting with EU Secretary of State, Federica Mogherini, who Søreide visited Brussels a few days ago.

Additionally, Søreide will have talks with the Norwegian business community in Myanmar, and local and international organisations active in the country.

Muslim minority

Both the UN and independent human rights organisations have recently provided shocking information about how the persecution of the Rohingya has taken place.

The reports tell about victims who have had their throats cut, victims who have been burned alive, and about group violence against women.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority that live in the western parts of Myanmar, especially in the state of Rakhine.

Several organisations believe the persecution of the people is so serious that it constitutes genocide and ethnic cleansing.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today