By Hassan Isilow
Mahatma Ghandi’s granddaughter has written to State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, urging her to use her position to stop attacks targeting Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, lSouth African daily The Times reported Monday.
‘‘We urge you to use all your power and influence to ensure that the government of Myanmar engages with the people of this area in a humane and compassionate manner,’’ Ela Gandhi, a peace activist and former South African parliamentarian wrote.
She said she believes Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate is respected among many and can use her influence to end this hostility.
Suu Kyi is also a recipient of the International Mahatma Gandhi Award for Reconciliation and Peace, awarded to her in 2009 when she faced many restrictions, including house arrest.
Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule.
Former anti-apartheid activist and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to Suu Kyi last week over the mistreatment of Rohingya Muslims and urged her to intervene.
“If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep,” Tutu said in a statement.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.
In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.
Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state more than two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.
Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.