In a rare trip to Europe, state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was once a symbol of the fight for democracy in Myanmar, visited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at his home in Budapest where the two leaders managed to find that they were kindred spirits when it comes to policy.
The two leaders highlighted that one of the greatest challenges at present for both countries and their respective regions – south-east Asia and Europe – is migration.
They noted that both regions have seen the emergence of a continuously growing Muslim population whom they identified as being a threat and main contributors to the migration crisis. Orban’s government has used anti-migrant rhetoric and nationalism to fuel xenophobic attitudes for some time, a tactic also used by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was elected as civilian leader in 2015 after living under house arrest by the military for 15 years.
Previously seen as a beacon of democratic hope, she has repeatedly failed to condemn or even acknowledge that Myanmar’s military has carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Muslim Rohingya minority for years. Thousands of Rohingya have been raped and killed in the brutal campaign in what the UN has described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.