A beauty pageant winner from Myanmar has claimed that she was stripped of her title after she posted a video about the ongoing violence in Rakhine state. Shwe Eain Si was announced Miss Grand Myanmar in October 2016 at a competition organised by the Hello Madam Group.
In the video released in September, she accuses militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army of driving communal violence in Rakhine state. Speaking in English, Shwe Eain Si says Arsa’s “caliphate-style movement” attacks were “out of proportion”. She further accuses their supporters of conducting a media campaign that showcases the “harbingers of terror” as if they were the oppressed.
On Sunday, without referring to the video, Hello Madam announced that the pageant winner’s title had been revoked because “she did not behave like a role model”. Shwe Eain Si was due to represent Myanmar at the Miss Grand International competition later in October.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Shwe Eain Si claimed her removal came after she had posted the video. “Yes, Shwe Eain Si made a video about the reign of terror brought about by the ARSA militants in Rakhine State, but that was hardly qualified as a failure to project a decent image of a pageant contestant,” the statement read. “Shwe Eain Si...is obliged as a citizen of this country to use her fame to speak out the truth for her nation.”
Hello Madam’s Director Doe Yu Wai told BBC that Shwe Eain Si had been stripped of her title even before the clip was published and the decision has nothing to do with her Rakhine video.
The Rohingya refugee crisis
More than seven lakh Rohingya refugees are believed to be in Bangladesh, and 5.07 lakh of them arrived since August 25, according to the United Nations, which had referred to the situation as an “ethnic cleansing”. The Rohingya have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar.