Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of another Prestigious award

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of another Prestigious award

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De facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the prestigious Elie Wiesel Award granted her in 2012, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announced.

The Holocaust Museum said it was rescinding the awards because she had failed to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country’s northern Rakhine State.

Reacting to the development, Myanmar’s embassy in Washington, DC, said “we immensely regret that the Holocaust Museum has been misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in making fair judgment on the situation in Rakhine State.”

Suu Kyi has been widely criticised for not taking a stronger stand in support of the Rohingya following mass displacements and disproportionate violence giving her global stand- even though her political influence is limited under a power sharing agreement with the military.

Letter to Aung San Suu Kyi

In a letter to Suu Kyi, museum director Sara Bloomfield insisted they “did not take this decision lightly,” but were compelled to act in light of mass displacements and killings attributed to the country’s security forces.

“As the military’s attacks against the Rohingya unfolded in 2016 and 2017, we had hoped that you – as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights -would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” Bloomfield wrote in the letter, posted on the museum’s website.

Instead, Bloomfield concludes, Suu Kyi’s political party “refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgated hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya community, and denied access to and cracked down on journalists trying to uncover the scope of the crimes in Rakhine State.”

Bloomfield closes with a pointed quote from Wiesel: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.”

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has been stripped of a number of prestigious awards amid allegations of ethnic cleansing of the country’s minority Rohingya population.

Freedom of the City of Oxford award

In November, Suu Kyi was stripped of the Freedom of the City of Oxford award, which honoured her in 1997 for “her opposition to oppression and military rule in Burma.” Suu Kyi studied at Oxford University’s St Hugh’s College as an undergraduate, but her portrait in the college has since been removed.

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Rakhine State since August. Myanmar’s military has repeatedly denied claims it deliberately attacked Rohingya civilians, insisting instead that it is combating a terrorist insurgency in the province.

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