And finally, she has come under major criticism for her silence. This is partly because people feel so incredibly let down by her failure to do the things they expected from her, like defending human rights and human dignity. Of course, many people recognise that the 2008 Constitution sets out very serious limitations on Aung San Suu Kyi′s power. She cannot formally order the commander-in-chief of the armed forces to halt these activities because the 2008 Constitution gives him total authority over security matters. But she could certainly raise her voice and make things uncomfortable for the security forces and she hasn′t even done that.
When Suu Kyi was a political prisoner, under house arrest for years and facing off against Myanmar′s military dictatorship, she said very clearly ″use your freedom to promote ours.″ People saw that as a major indicator of where she was going and what she stood for. The reason the international community supported her so strongly was that she stood for resistance against military dictatorship, for the protection of human rights and the dignity of all people. It was almost as if there was an informal contract between her and the international community. She was incredibly popular. The things she stood for were so critically important that people forgot that she is a politician.
On the Rohingya issue, she has ducked the whole question of their status and their situation because she knows that the Rohingya are hugely unpopular within Myanmar. Yet, by remaining silent in the face of the current atrocities, she has created an international dynamic where people around the world don′t want to support her.
Somewhere along the line, Suu Kyi reneged on that deal with the international community that said we will support you because when you take power, you will stand up and support the human rights cause. And she hasn′t been doing that, not even close. This is not a problem that is confined to Rakhine: conflicts between various ethnic groups and the Myanmar security forces are ongoing in other states throughout the country. What we are seeing is an utter failure of moral leadership.