Has Aung San Suu Kyi found common ground with Hungary’s Viktor Orban over ‘growing Muslim populations’?
- Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has refused to offer assurances to Rohingya now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh
- Orban, meanwhile, has an equally bad track record, his government declaring a ‘crisis situation due to mass immigration’ in 2015
In a rare trip to Europe, state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was once the figurehead of the fight for democracy in Myanmar, met Orban in Budapest. There, the two leaders found common ground on the subject of immigration and Islam.
Once lauded as the great democratic hope for Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was elected as civilian leader in 2015 after living under house arrest by the military for 15 years, has proved a marked disappointment to most western governments who were her champions.
Orban, meanwhile, has an equally bad track record. His government declared a “crisis situation due to mass immigration” in 2015, stirring up fear in Hungary over an alleged threat of migrants. The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights released a recent report accusing Orban’s government of using anti-migrant rhetoric that fuels “xenophobic attitudes, fear and hatred”.
Aung San Suu Kyi has increasingly spoken out against the imposition of western ideas and principles in Myanmar, a view which was reflected by Orban in the statement released after their meeting, where he emphasised his rejection of the “export of democracy” from other western countries.
A spokesperson for the Myanmar government could not be reached for comment.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to central Europe was with the aim to strengthen economic ties in the region. Prior to Hungary, she visited the Czech Republic where she met with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.