27, Jan 2018 | CJP Team
Longtime US diplomat Bill Richardson, who was previously the governor of New Mexico, has resigned from an international advisory panel on the ongoing Rohingya crisis. Richardson told Reuters that his “main reason” for resigning was that “…this advisory board is a whitewash,” saying that he did not want to be on “a cheerleading squad for the government”. Richard said he was “taken aback by the vigour with which the media, the UN, human rights groups and in general the international community were disparaged” during recent meetings between the panel and Myanmar officials. Of Aung San Suu Kyi he said, “I like her enormously and respect her. But she has not shown moral leadership on the Rakhine issue and the allegations made, and I regret that.” Richardson also noted that he had an argument with Suu Kyi over the issue of two Reuters reporters who are under trial in Myanmar for allegedly violating its Official Secrets Act, describing her response to his bringing up the subject as “furious,” with her saying that the issue “was not part of the work of the advisory board”. Richardson resigned as the panel visited Myanmar’s Rakhine state for the first time; the state was home to the several hundred thousand Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh. Myanmar established the advisory board in 2017, to offer counsel regarding the implementation of findings by a previous commission that was chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.