30April2017

Home Editorial MUSLIM ACTIVIST MURDERED IN MYANMAR

MUSLIM ACTIVIST MURDERED IN MYANMAR

Still fresh in memory  the  violence committed by the security forces of Myanmar to the minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Now the world's Muslim community were  shocked by the murder committed against a Muslim leader in Myanmar.

Ko Ni, a Muslim activist who worked as a lawyer and adviser to the National League of Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, was shot dead in the area of Yangon Airport, on Sunday (January 29). Ko Ni had just arrived after returning from Jakarta to attend a bilateral meeting with Indonesian officials. When Ko Ni was  waiting for a taxi, Sunday afternoon, a man appeared and shot him death. A taxi driver who saw the incident and tried to catch  the perpetrators, was also  shot and ultimately died. Myanmar Information Officer confirmed, the murderer’s name is  Kyi Lin, 53 years old.

Thousands of Myanmar lawyers, foreign diplomats, and members of the NLD party attended Ko Ni’s funeral on Monday (30/1). Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly was not  present.

Ko Ni was not an ordinary person. He was renowned as a Muslim leader in the predominantly Buddhist country. In the 80s while still a student, Ko Ni vigorously fought against Myanmar's military regime and was a political prisoner. After freed from the prison, he worked  as a lawyer and an adviser at the NLD. However, he also criticized the NLD which discriminated against Muslim members in the  parliament in 2015. Ko Ni also co-founded the Association of Myanmar Muslim Lawyers and calling for protection of the rights of Muslims.

Ko Ni’s murder was commented by his  friend in  Legal Counsel Network of  Myanmar, Kyee Mynt, as a loss of democracy in Myanmar. While the world  human rights organization, the  Amnesty Internastional, said Ko Ni's death shocked the community of human rights in Myanmar and abroad. Josef Benedict of the  Amnesty International  added that the authorities in Myanmar must   state that such  violence can not be tolerated and is not above the law.

Ko Ni murder is a heinous act that is very unfortunate. Particularly at a time when Myanmar is in the process of  solving the problem of the Rohingya Muslim minority. If such action is allowed, then Myanmar which  had just entered in a democracy, can be dragged back into an unstable condition. It can be a door for the re-entry of the military, proving that   civilians are unable  to maintain stability in Myanmar. The  return to the dictatorial regime of Myanmar  is something that Indonesia and ASEAN do not want happen.

In the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Indonesia  has clearly shown its concern in  a concrete action by sending some  aid. Hopefully, the ASEAN countries will also do the same thing, so that Myanmar does  not feel like being attacked by his own neighbors and the problem with Rohingya minority  in Rakhine can be resolved. It would  also prevent the Myanmar military to take a shortcut to keep the unity of Myanmar with something like a  coup, for instance.

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