State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been the center of controversy in southeast Asia as the crisis with the Rohingya rages on.  While human rights abuses have increased in the jungles of eastern Burma, the world has begun to condemn the government for allowing their military to persecute the Rohingya, driving them from Rakhine State toward the border of India and Bangladesh.  Around 400,000 refugees have fled their homes, which is significant considering the Rohingya population within Burma is approximately 500,000 people.

The de facto leader of Burma does not have direct control over the country’s armed forces.  The idea that “military matters are to be left to the Army” is a principle stated in the Burmese constitution, something Suu Kyi claims to be trying to change.  However, when asked about the crisis itself, she chooses to defer to the attacks that spurred off the military’s actions.

In October of 2016, Rohingya insurgents attacked police checkpoints, reportedly killing nine and looting their weapons and ammunition.  Later in August, more police posts were attacked resulting in the deaths of 71 people on both sides.

Since then, the government has responded with a slew of documented human rights abuses.  These include arresting civilians with no cause, executions, mass destruction of property, gang rapes, and more.  Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Rafendi Djamin, said that, “The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence. Men, women, children, whole families and entire villages have been attacked and abused, as a form of collective punishment.”