On 01 February 2020 a facebook post emerged from the account Hadith Mahmood which shared an image of the Ethiopian and Myanmarese prime ministers Abiy Ahmed and Aung San Suu Kyi respectively with the claim that they were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes and later committed war crimes. The post which is written in Amharic reads “These two Nobel Peace prize winners immediately transformed themselves to dictators. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese PM has now been detained due to the war crime she committed and there is no doubt that the Ethiopian Prime Minister will face the fate of his Myanmarese counterpart for the war crimes he committed.”
Aung San Suu Kyi had been serving as the Prime Minister of Myanmar since 2016 till her detention days ago. She also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her non violent movement during the reign of the military regime.
The Burmese PM is now under detention by the military since 01 February 2021 and many are referring to it as a coup d’etat attempt on the peace prize winning prime minister. She was criticized for her silence during the persecution and massive displacement of the Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar back in 2017. Her critics had called for the revocation of the Prize. She said that she didn’t know whether the Rohingya people are citizens of Myanmar and denied that they were targeted of ethnic cleansing in contrast to the allegations. Aung San Suu Kyi stated that not only the Muslim Rohingyas but also other ethnic groups had also been victims of the inter-communal violence.
Kyi is now arrested and the military declared a state of emergency for a period of one year. The military accused Aung San Suu Kyi of fraud during the recently conducted national election which was held on 08 November 2021. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the general election by 80%. However, the military declared that her party’s victory was fraudulent and deposed her and the entire civil government as a result.
Many statesmen are condemning the coup by the military and calling for her immediate release. The US president, Joe Biden stated that his administration will put sanctions against the military for the coup. In a statement he gave on the recent developments, the recently inaugurated president said “The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.” The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson condemned military takeover of power and called for the respect of democracy and release of all captured civilians.
There has been an armed conflict between the TPLF-led regional forces and Federal government-led forces and following instabilities in Tigray since 4 November 2020. Many have been fleeting to Sudan and other areas escaping the war in Tigray. There have also been allegations of war crimes amid the war. The UN called inquiry into these unconfirmed reports. However the allegations of war crimes have not been interrogated and confirmed by any independent organization/party.
It is in this context that the facebook post was shared which claims she was arrested because she commited war crimes. However, her arrest and deposition has nothing to do with allegations of war crimes. It’s rather discord between her government and the military force of the country. She has been arrested by the military several times during her early activism and when she was prime minister.
Fact Checked by: Hagos Gebreamlak
Edited by: Bruck Negash Teame
The following article is part of HaqCheck, Addis Zeybe’s multilingual fact checking running in five languages (Affan Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya and English)