Richardson resigns Myanmar panel amid Rohingya crisis
International | Former UN ambassador accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of ‘an arrogance of power’
by Mindy Belz
Posted 1/26/18, 02:29 pm
MYANMAR: Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson has resigned from a Myanmar (also known as Burma) advisory panel on the Rohingya crisis, calling the panel “a whitewash” and “cheerleading squad” for the military-run government. Richardson, a former Democratic congressman and governor of New Mexico, rebuked his long-time friend Aung San Suu Kyi, the former opposition activist and Nobel laureate who is now the country’s civilian leader. Critics have charged Suu Kyi with tolerance of the Rohingya pogroms, but Richardson offered the highest formal rebuke: “She has developed an arrogance of power.”
Doctors Without Borders has documented at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims killed, and nearly 700,000 people have been forced to flee to Bangladesh as Myanmar’s military forces torched their villages.
UNITED STATES: The Rohingya crisis is one of several that will top the agenda for newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. A conservative who learned how to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill, Brownback endured a nail-biting vote on Wednesday in the Senate—only the second time in U.S. history a vice president has been summoned to break a tie on a confirmation vote. (The first was for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.) For Democrats, Brownback’s stands on LGBT issues trump human rights crises.
SWITZERLAND: U.S. President Donald Trump spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday and has departed the Alpine resort after meetings with select leaders: Britain’s Theresa May, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. In his speech, the president highlighted “the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America,” and said the United States “is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries.”
SYRIA: Christians living in Afrin, the Kurdish-controlled city under attack from Turkish forces this week, called on the international community to protect them. “We are at this moment under heavy shelling, and Islamic groups are threatening to enter the area,” said pastor Valentin Hanan. Turkish officials say 14 have been killed and more than 130 wounded in fighting on Friday.
LIBERIA: This week George Manneh Weah was inaugurated president in the West African nation’s first democratic transfer of power after decades of war. Weah pledged to end corruption among public officials. A former soccer star, Weah is a Methodist, like his predecessor Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, and has served as an usher in his local church.
I’M READING Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.