Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK – who didn’t support the military coup – was locked out of his embassy and had to spend the night in his car

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Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn stands outside the Myanmar Embassy in London on April 8, 2021, after he was locked out the day before.

  • Kyaw Zwar Minn, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK, said he was locked out of the embassy on Wednesday.
  • Sources told Reuters that his deputy took over.
  • Kyaw Zwar Minn had called for Myanmar’s civilian leader to be released after her detention in the coup.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK, who did not support the military coup in the country, said he was locked out of the embassy on Wednesday night.

Sources told Reuters that his deputy had shut him out and taken over.

Kyaw Zwar Minn told Reuters: “It’s a kind of coup, in the middle of London … you can see that they occupy my building.”

The BBC’s Charlotte Wright said Kyaw Zwar Minn told her that he spent the night sleeping in his car outside the embassy.

The ambassador also said that embassy staff were being threatened with “severe punishment if they don’t continue to work for the military general,” the BBC reported.

Myanmar’s military staged a coup on February 1 after claiming voter fraud in its November 2020 election, and detained its leaders. Since then it has also cracked down on anti-coup protests and killed hundreds of demonstrators.

Kyaw Zwar Minn has called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader that the military detained during the coup.

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13 members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus refused to condemn Myanmar’s generals who violently overthrew elected leaders

andrew clyde andy harris andy biggs
From left, Reps. Andy Harris, R-Md., Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., conclude a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the Capitol to oppose the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, on Thursday February 25, 2021.

  • A House resolution censuring those who carried out the Myanmar coup passed by a 398-14 vote on Friday.
  • Over a dozen GOP Reps., mostly from the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus, opposed the motion.
  • Some of those who voted against the measure tied it to immigration or the results of the US election.
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On Friday, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution that censured the military coup in Myanmar by a 398-14 vote. Over a dozen Republicans, most of them from the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus, stood in opposition.

The vote condemned the military generals who orchestrated the coup and called for the Biden administration to place sanctions on them.

Some Freedom Caucus representatives tied their votes to right-wing political talking points, and some referenced the 2020 US elections.

Those who voted no were, 13 of whom are part of the Freedom Caucus:

  1. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  2. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
  3. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
  4. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas
  5. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  6. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland
  7. Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina
  8. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois
  9. Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia
  10. Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama
  11. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia
  12. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado
  13. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, a member of the caucus, voted present.

One Republican, who is not a part of the Freedom Caucus, also voted against the resolution: Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

Perry objected to Pennsylvania’s electors ahead of the insurrection on January 6, and on Friday, and his spokesperson told Forbes that the Myanmar resolution “is an overt attempt to trap Republicans into condemning the claims of evidence of election fraud in Burma while perpetuating similar claims (in the Democrat’s views) of evidence in US elections.”

Harris issued a statement aimed at immigrants, saying that Congress should address, “COVID positive illegal aliens being dispersed into our communities rather than wasting time on useless resolutions about a foreign country.”

Biggs, the caucus chair, posted a video on Twitter explaining his opposition to the resolution.

In the video, Biggs said the violence resulting from the coup is “tragic.” However, Biggs says that “there is suffering everywhere in the world” and he believes the US “can’t be the military police for the entire world.” He alleged that the resolution was a means to “put our foot in the door in Burma.”

In Myanmar’s November elections, the ruling National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 seats in Parliament, with the military-affiliated Union Solidarity and Development Party winning 33 seats.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, claimed that the election was rife with voter fraud – charging 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities” among a population of 54 million – a claim that was rejected by the country’s election commission, according to the AP.

Top members of the ruling party, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, were detained by the military.

Mass protests have followed the coup in Myanmar since early February, and according to the UN, military forces have killed at least 138 protesters since then. The military has also instituted media and internet blackouts.

After the vote on Friday, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted that, “The House QAnon Caucus refuses to condemn the military coup in Burma.”

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Myanmar’s UN ambassador implores world to take action to end military coup and restore democracy

Myanmar
Myanmar’s ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun addresses the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2019.

  • Myanmar’s UN ambassador called on the world body to end the military coup in his country. 
  • Kyaw Moe Tun called for the “strongest possible action” to “restore the democracy.”
  • Myanmar’s military staged a coup in early February, ousting the civilian government.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Myanmar’s UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, speaking for the country’s elected civilian government ousted in a military coup on February 1, appealed to the UN on Friday “to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military” to restore democracy to the Southeast Asian country.

He addressed the 193-member U.N. General Assembly after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, warned that no country should recognize or legitimize the Myanmar junta and all efforts must be made to restore democracy.

“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy,” Kyaw Moe Tun said to applause and praise from Western and Islamic counterparts.

Schraner Burgener pushed for a collective “clear signal in support of democracy” as she sounded the alarm over the coup, urging “influential” countries to push the military to allow an independent assessment of the situation.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after the military complained of fraud in a November election.

“Regrettably, the current regime has so far asked me to postpone any visit. It seems they want to continue making large-scale arrests and have been coercing people to testify against the NLD Government. This is cruel and inhumane,” Schraner Burgener said.

The country has been largely paralyzed by weeks of protests and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the military. While military chief General Min Aung Hlaing says authorities are using minimal force during the protests, three protesters and one policeman have been killed.

“If there is any escalation in terms of military crackdown – and sadly as we have seen this before in Myanmar – against people exercising their basic rights, let us act swiftly and collectively,” Schraner Burgener said.

‘Make sure that this coup fails’

Myanmar Grafitti No Coup Febraury 6 2021.JPG
A man takes a picture of a graffiti by Thai artist Mue Bon against the military coup in Myamar in a street in Bangkok, Thailand, February 6, 2021.

The army has promised an election, but has not given a date. It has imposed a one-year state of emergency.

The question of an election is at the center of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member. Indonesia has taken the lead, but coup opponents fear the efforts will confer legitimacy on the junta.

“It is important the international community does not lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime,” Schraner Burgener said. “The result of the election of November 2020 was clear with 82 percent of the votes for the NLD.”

Guterres has pledged to mobilize enough international pressure “to make sure that this coup fails.” The Security Council has voiced concern over the state of emergency, but stopped short of condemning the coup.

Schraner Burgener expressed concern for the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.

A 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh, where they are still stranded. Guterres and Western states have accused the Myanmar army of ethnic cleansing, which it denies.

“We must ask, how can we rely on a military regime when the very same led the security operations leading to the human rights violations and forced displacement of Rohingya people and others from their homes?” Schraner Burgener said.

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Facebook removed the main page of Myanmar military as protests continue following a military coup

Myanmar coup
Buddhist monks hold placards as they participate in a rally protesting election results by supporters of the Myanmar military and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party near Shwedagon pagoda Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar.

  • Facebook removed the main page for the Myanmar military on Sunday, Reuters reported. 
  • The platform said the page violated standards that prohibit the incitement of violence. 
  • Several people have been killed by police in recent anti-coup protests. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Facebook deleted the main page of the Myanmar military on Sunday for violating the platform’s standards that prohibit the incitement of violence, Reuters reported. 

Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment, but a spokesperson told Reuters: “In line with our global policies, we’ve removed the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm.” 

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, took over on February 1, claiming there was mass voter fraud during the country’s November elections.

An independent election committee, however, reviewed the claims and found them to be baseless. 

The coup resulted in the detention of officials including President Win Myint and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Saturday, riot police shot and killed two people protesting against the coup, the Associated Press reported. 

On February 9, another woman was shot in the head during protests. Mya Thweh Thweh Khine, 20, died on Friday after being on life support. 

In a Facebook post, Kyi Toe, spokesperson for the National League for Democracy said Khine was shot by “a bullet that pierced a motorcycle helmet,” and rights groups confirmed that she was shot by police.

The military’s “True News Information Unit” however, claimed that only non-lethal weapons were used during the protests. 

Earlier this month, in response to the coup, Facebook said it would “significantly reduce the distribution of all content on Facebook Pages and profiles run by the Myanmar military that has continued to spread misinformation. 

The platform has been criticized in the past for not being strict enough on moderating political content. 

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg said the platform played a role in the ethnic cleansing of the country’s Rohingya Muslim population.

On Saturday, Google also removed a propaganda blog that was in support of the coup. An online activist discovered that the military was using Blogger, which is owned by Google, for propaganda, as well as Gmail accounts being used to manage companies on a sanctions list released by President Joe Biden. 

“We take action against accounts on our platforms in accordance with our product policies and applicable laws,” a Google spokesperson told Insider’s Jeff Elder. “In this case, we have terminated accounts as a result of President Biden’s Executive Order of 11 February 2021 concerning Myanmar.” 

Biden announced an executive order on February 10 which ordered sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders, limited the military’s access to the country’s $1 billion in government funds held in the US, and froze assets that help Myanmar’s government. 

“The people of Burma are making their voices heard, and the world is watching,” Biden said in a briefing: “We’ll be ready to impose additional measures, and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at salarshani@insider.com

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Google has pulled down a propaganda blog backing the military coup in Myanmar after outcry by online activists

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Protesters against the Myanmar military coup outside the US Embassy in Yangon on February 20, 2021.

  • Google has yanked hosting of a blog promoting propaganda for the Myanmar military’s coup. 
  • The blog, named for the coup’s leader, was hosted on the Google-owned Blogger platform. 
  • Freedom-of-information activist Donk Enby tipped off Insider about the blog this week.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Google has pulled down a propaganda blog supporting the military coup in Myanmar after the blog was discovered by an online activist this week. 

The blog was managed and hosted via the Google-owned Blogger platform under the URL seniorgeneralminaunghlaing.com, taking its name from the Myanmar military leader who has seized control of the country. 

Claiming there was mass voter fraud during the country’s November elections, the military seized control of Myanmar on February 1. An independent election committee reviewed the claims and found them to be baseless. The US formally declared the military takeover as a coup on February 2. The Biden administration announced sanctions against the military on February 11. 

Hacker and activist Donk Enby discovered the coup’s use of Blogger for propaganda and of Gmail accounts in managing companies on the US sanctions list released by Biden to discourage business with the military. Insider wrote about the use of Google tools by the military on Tuesday. Protesters of the military coup retweeted Insider’s tweet of the article more than 850 times. Google removed the blog on Saturday. Financial information about the coup discovered by Enby is now being hosted by freedom-of-information activists on the website DDOS Secrets.   

“We take action against accounts on our platforms in accordance with our product policies and applicable laws,” a Google spokesperson told Insider. “In this case, we have terminated accounts as a result of President Biden’s Executive Order of 11 February 2021 concerning Myanmar.” Google also removed apps run by the coup from its Play Store app marketplace. 

After the blog was pulled down, Enby told Insider that “taking down Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s website and propaganda apps on the Play Store is a step in the right direction, but Google should speak out and tell us whether they also intend to cut them off from services like Gmail that he and his cronies rely on to do their day-to-day business.” 

Google did not respond to questions about pulling other services used by the coup. 

A post on the blog on Monday claimed the military leadership “has not changed the path of multi-party democracy. All tasks are being carried out in accord with the Constitution (2008). No policies were changed in politics, administration, economic, social affairs, peace and international relations.” The domain listed its registrant organization as the Myanmar Ministry of Defence.

The United Nations cited the blog in a 2019 report noting the coup’s promotion of “a false narrative propagated to breed hatred.”  

The coup’s leaders, which earlier corresponded with Insider via a Gmail account also discovered by Enby, did not respond to a request for comment. 

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Biden announces sanctions targeting Myanmar military leaders to urge them to release detained elected leaders

Myanmar Coup
Military soldiers with tanks and police truck block the road near parliament in Naypyidaw in Myanmar on February 1, 2021.

  • Biden announced sanctions against military leaders in Myanmar following their coup. 
  • The initial rounds of individuals sanctioned will be announced this week. 
  • Biden also called on the military to release officials, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden ordered sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders after a coup earlier this month and called on them to release detained officials, including President Win Myint and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

“The people of Burma are making their voices heard, and the world is watching,” Biden said in a briefing. “We’ll be ready to impose additional measures, and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”

The first round of individuals to be reprimanded will be announced this week, but Biden promised to “immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price also said the US would work with other countries to impose “steep and profound costs on those responsible for this coup.”

The US formally declared the military takeover as a coup on February 2, which prompted a review of foreign aid to the country, NBC reported. 

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, took over on February 1, claiming there was mass voter fraud during the country’s November elections. An independent election committee, however, reviewed the claims and found them to be baseless. 

Biden’s executive order will also limit the military’s access to the country’s $1 billion in government funds held in the US. 

Read more:  Brad Parscale is back again in Trump’s orbit. The former 2020 campaign manager hated by the ex-president is building his post-White House digital operation.

Additionally, the US said it would freeze assets that help Myanmar’s government, but will continue to support “health care, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly,” Biden said.

While the US has ordered sanctions, Reuters reported that it’s unlikely that countries like China, India, Japan, and other Southeast Asian neighbors will impose sanctions on Myanmar. 

“The key will not be just what America does,” Derek Mitchell, a former US ambassador to Myanmar told Reuters. “It’s going to be how we get others along with us, allies who may have more skin in the game, more leverage, or at least better relationships with the key players.”

Other countries like New Zealand have already condemned the coup and taken diplomatic measures including directing New Zealand’s aid program to “not include projects that are delivered with, or benefit, the military government.”

The country is also suspending “all high-level political and military contact with Myanmar.” 

The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on the situation in Myanmar on Friday. 

 

 

 

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China and Russia blocked the UN from condemning Myanmar’s military coup

Armoured personnel carriers are seen on the streets of Mandalay on February 3, 2021, as calls for a civil disobedience gather pace following a military coup which saw civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi being detained. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Armored military vehicles in Mandalay, Myanmar, on February 3, 2021.

  • China and Russia blocked the UN Security Council from condemning the Myanmar coup.
  • Myanmar’s military detained politicians and imposed a state of emergency on Monday.
  • China has close ties to Myanmar, and its state media called the coup a “cabinet reshuffle.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

China and Russia have blocked the UN from condemning the ongoing military coup in Myanmar

The 15-member UN Security Council met on Tuesday to vote on a joint statement after Myanmar military chief Min Aung Hlaing on Monday seized control of the country, detaining hundreds of lawmakers including President Win Myint and the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi.

The coup followed the November 2020 election that the military claims was fraudulent, with the military imposing a year-long state of emergency.

The Myanmar police, which operates under the military, charged Suu Kyi with breaching import laws and using illegal communication devices – walkie-talkies – on Wednesday, the BBC reported. The police also charged Win Myint with violating COVID-19 rules, per the BBC.

The UN statement sought to “condemn the military coup” and call on the military to “immediately release those unlawfully detained,” according to a draft seen by Politico.

However, the council was unable to issue that statement as UN ambassadors from China and Russia said they would need the respective blessings of Beijing and Moscow before agreeing, the Associated Press reported.

“China and Russia have asked for more time,” a diplomat told Agency France-Presse.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia are able to veto or delay the body’s activities.

FILE PHOTO: The United Nations Security Council meets about the situation in Syria at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
The UN Security Council seen in New York City in February 2020.

Issuing a joint statement is the first step to enforcing sanctions and Sherine Tadros, the deputy director of advocacy at Amnesty International, told the AP the council needs to act.

“The Security Council must also impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar, and crucially, refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court,” Tadros said, adding that the council should freeze Min Aung Hlaing’s assets.

Nations can enforce sanctions on Myanmar themselves, but for the UN to issue one takes a resolution, which looks unlikely given China and Russia’s reticence.

On Tuesday, the US State Department officially labelled the takeover as a “coup,” meaning it cannot offer help to the new military regime. The US is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Read more: The ultimate guide to Joe Biden’s White House staff

On the ground in Myanmar, people are expressing their outrage.

Local activists launched the “Civil Disobedience Movement” on Facebook on Tuesday, AFP reported, adding that as of Wednesday morning it had amassed nearly 150,000 followers.

Doctors and nurses at 70 hospitals across the country also stopped working in protest of the military coup.

A ‘cabinet reshuffle’

China has a long history of defending Myanmar, and has been reticent to label the takeover as a “coup.”

China is Myanmar’s largest trading partner, owning major oil and gas pipelines in the country, and is currently working on establishing the “China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.” 

“China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar’s,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Monday, Reuters reported.

“We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability.”

On Monday the state-run Xinhua news agency referred to the coup as a “cabinet reshuffle.”

While many nations shunned Myanmar when it was a military dictatorship between 1962 and 2011, China stood by it and has also cultivated healthy ties with Suu Kyi since she became leader in 2015.

China defended Myanmar and Suu Kyi as they faced of allegations of genocide. Suu Kyi is accused of driving at least 740,000 Rohingya Muslims out of the country since August 2017, according to Human Rights Watch.

In late January 2020, the UN’s International Court of Justice ruled that Myanmar must “take all measures” to prevent the genocide of the ethnic minority.

That same month, China said that it “firmly supports Myanmar’s efforts to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and national dignity in the international arena,” AFP reported.

Russia and China have blocked UN actions regarding Myanmar in the past, having in 2007 vetoed a UN draft resolution that called on the country’s military regime at the time to release political prisoners and stop violating human rights.

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Myanmar’s military says it’s taking over as world leaders look on in shock

FILE PHOTO: Photographs of Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi hung in a shop in Yangon, Myanmar, January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang
FILE PHOTO: Photos of Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi are seen in a shop in Yangon

  • The military of Myanmar said it would be taking control of the country for the next year.
  • Earlier on Monday, several top government officials, including Aun San Suu Kyi and president Win Myint, were rounded up.
  • Global diplomatic leaders are expressing outrage and dismay at the move. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Myanmar’s military announced on Monday that it would be taking over the country for at least a year, citing massive voter fraud as justification for the coup.

The announcement was made on the military-owned television channel Myawaddy TV, and followed the detainment of several top Myanmar politicians, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar President Win Myint. Members of the ruling National League for Democracy were also taken into custody, according to the Associated Press. The newly elected parliament was due to meet on Monday for the first time since the election. 

Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe, a former general who is backed by the military, is currently heading up the government.

In the country’s last election in November, the National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 parliamentary seats, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won just 33 seats. 

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, claimed there was massive voter fraud, and on January 26 released a list of corruption allegations. They claimed there were 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities” among a population of 54 million. 

The claims were rejected by the country’s election commission, according to the AP

Myanmar’s citizens woke up on Monday to a media blackout and there are reports that internet connectivity is down 75%, with the military planning to completely disconnect the internet later today. 

 

As news of the coup spread across the country, citizens lined up at banks to pull their cash out. Residents in the city of Yangon reported that area ATMs had run out of cash. According to Reuters, all banks are planning to shut down temporarily.

World leaders expressed shock and outrage at the military takeover.

“We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted. “The military must reverse these actions immediately.”

United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coup represents “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”

UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir tweeted: “I call for immediate release of detained political leaders. Attempts to undermine #democracy and rule of law are unacceptable. Military leaders must adhere to democratic norms and respect public institutions and civilian authority.”

In a statement on Monday, the military said the international community “should not be endorsing the next steps of the political process on a business-as-usual basis without understanding actual events,” according to the Myanmar Times.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recommended the US impose sanctions on Myanmar, “as well as other measures, against the Tatmadaw and the military leadership of Burma.”

Myanmar’s military ran the country until 2015, when it began transitioning toward a democratic model. In recent years, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was hailed as a humanitarian hero and presented with a Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991, has been criticized for her imprisonment and torture of the Rohingya ethnic minority

 

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