October 22, 2017
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Dalai Lama weighs in on Myanmar anti-Muslim violence - Lead

  • Category: World
Dalai Lama welcomes Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) before their meeting during the 17th Forum 2000 Conference, on September 15, 2013, in Prague. Photo: Forum 2000

The Dalai Lama on Tuesday urged Myanmar monks to act according to their Buddhist principles, in a plea to end the deadly violence against the country's Muslim minority.

"Those Burmese monks, please, when they develop some kind of anger towards Muslim brothers and sisters, please, remember the Buddhist faith," the Buddhist leader told reporters at an annual human rights conference in the Czech capital Prague.

"I am sure (...) that would protect those Muslim brothers and sisters who are becoming victims," Tibet's exiled spiritual leader said.

Sectarian clashes in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine last year left around 200 people dead -- mostly Rohingya Muslims who are denied citizenship -- and 140,000 others homeless.

Having earned scorn for her failure to clearly condemn the violence, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's pro-democracy icon turned opposition leader, said its constitution had to change for the ethnic violence to end.

"The ethnic problem will not be solved by this present constitution which does not meet the aspirations of the ethnic nationalities," Suu Kyi told reporters at the Forum 2000 conference on Tuesday.

"We've got to give our people a sense of security first, they must feel they have equal access to justice.

"If somebody is afraid of being attacked by people from another community, you can't expect them to sit down and talk to one another."

A committee of parliamentarians have until the end of the year to produce a report with their recommended changes to the constitution, which was written by the former junta more than a decade ago.

Suu Kyi said last week that she alone could not stop the anti-Muslim violence and that the solution was to install the rule of law.

The democracy icon spent 15 years under house arrest under military rule in Myanmar before she was freed after controversial elections in 2010.

The Dalai Lama, 78, who fled his homeland for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, also said there was "too much emphasis on 'we' and 'they'" in the world, and that "this century should be a century of dialogue, not wars".

He and the 68-year-old Suu Kyi, both Nobel Peace laureates, met privately on the fringes of the Prague conference on Sunday.

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