In this episode of UpFront, we challenge Aung San Suu Kyi’s former spokesperson on allegations of genocide in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
And we debate the police response to protests in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s government with La Republique En Marche MP Roland Lescure.
Denying genocide in Myanmar: “rumours and hearsay”
In January the International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Myanmar’s government rejected the ruling, saying it was based on a “distorted picture of the situation”.
According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed and more than 700,000 have fled Rakhine state since the Myanmar military’s crackdown began in 2017. Thousands of Rohingya women and girls have been raped, and around 300 villages burnt to the ground.
The former spokesperson of Myanmar’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is dismissing the allegations, describing them as “one-sided”.
“Most of the international people live in the rumours, hearsay,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.
“This is a political accusation … because you know, they just joined the bandwagon,” he added.
Nyo Ohn Myint also questioned the evidence gathered by the international community – which has been denied access to Rakhine state by Myanmar’s government.
“When I read the US State Department report that said the Rohingya women were raped by soldiers and surrounded by hundreds of soldiers, it looked like the very, you know … third-class Hollywood movie,” he said.
Nyo Ohn Myint suggested that some of the women who gave accounts of their rape to Amnesty International were lying.
“I don’t know because if I, if I look at her eye, maybe she was true or maybe she was lying,” he said.
This week’s Headliner, Aung San Suu Kyi’s former spokesperson, Nyo Ohn Myint.
Protests in France: have police gone too far?
This week, President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms went to parliament and tens of thousands of French protesters returned to the streets in opposition.
Demonstrations have become a regular feature of Macron’s presidency, during which French police have been accused of using excessive force.
According to French journalists, 325 people have suffered head injuries, 25 people have lost eyes and five have lost hands during protests.
La Republique En Marche MP Roland Lescure says some protesters are going to the demonstrations just to cause violence, and that is an attack on French democracy.
“I’m not happy that a few of them have lost an eye or a hand, but those people are – it’s insurrection. You know, they’re violent. They’re there to actually kick the police and that’s not what peaceful democratic demonstrations should be about,” Lescure said.
Protesters are angry over Macron’s pension plan which will turn 42 different pensions into a universal one. They say reforms will mean some people will have to work longer and retire later in life.
“It’s true to say that … some of them, bus drivers, train drivers and a few of these, are probably going to be not as well off as they are today,” Lescure conceded.
“And yes, on every one of those reforms, you always find someone in France who is going to oppose them, but on the whole, I think we’re beginning to have results. Unemployment hasn’t been as low as it is today for the last 11-12 years. There’s job creations, there’s company creations, foreign direct investment is coming into France again” he added.
This week’s Special Interview, La Republique En Marche MP Roland Lescure.
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