Myanmar terminates Bill Richardson's participation in advisory board on Rakhine state

Myanmar analyst Khin Zaw Win said Mr Richardson's words could deliver a "much-needed jolt for Aung San Suu Kyi and for the people around her who are not reporting the truth to her".

After his three-day visit to Myanmar, the diplomat said he was shocked by the panel members' disparagement of the media, the United Nations, human rights groups and the global community.

"And I think Aung San Suu Kyi has brought this upon herself, the constant disparagement of the worldwide community, which I think can be helpful to her. I think she's developed a classic bubble".

Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has faced condemnation from human rights groups for her supposed inaction on the violence committed by the Myanmar state forces against the Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

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The State Counsellor's office said that during discussions in Myanmar's capital on January 22, "it became evident" that Richardson was not interested in providing advice as one of five worldwide members of a new panel on a crisis that has seen almost 690,000 Rohingya flee a military crackdown to Bangladesh.

"I think the Myanmar military is to blame a lot and the only person that can turn them around, I believe, is Aung San Suu Kyi, and she should start doing that", Richardson said.

Stung by global criticism and accusations of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, Suu Kyi had said in November a year ago that Rohingya who can prove they were residents of Myanmar would be accepted back.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has a record of freeing detainees held by some of the world's harshest dictatorships. He added that he had no intention of becoming a "cheerleading squad for the (Myanmar) government".

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Zaw Htay said the issue of the arrests was not in Richardson's mandate and he should not have brought it up at his meeting with Suu Kyi. "And she exploded", he said on Friday.

Myanmar national journalists Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, working for Reuters face a possible 14 years in prison under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act for allegedly possessing classified documents that they say were given to them by two policemen.

But after a three-day visit to Myanmar, Richardson struck out at his hosts, saying he could not in "good conscience" sit on a panel he feared would only "whitewash" the causes of the Rohingya crisis.

United Nations officials, former United States president Barack Obama, European lawmakers, former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria, and a slew of Philippine and worldwide human rights groups have criticized him for his bloody drug war.

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The man under constant fire over human rights issues has a piece of advice to Myanmar's Nobel Peace laureate and democracy icon: just ignore the critics. Myanmar rejects that label and has denied almost all the allegations. The Myanmar government has announced that temporary camps are ready to accept verified returnees, though none had arrived as of January 26.


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