Washington, March 8: The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has stripped Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of a human rights award over the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslim minority, the media reported.
On Wednesday, the Museum announced that it was rescinding Suu Kyi’s Elie Wiesel Award, which they presented to her in 2012, reports CNN.
In a letter to Suu Kyi, Museum Director Sara Bloomfield insisted that they “did not take this decision lightly”, but were compelled to act in light of mass displacements and killings of the Rohingya attributed to Myanmar’s security forces.
The Nobel Laureate has been widely criticized for not taking a stronger stand in support of the Rohingya following mass displacements and disproportionate violence, particularly given her global standing.
“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.
Instead, Bloomfield concludes, Suu Kyi’s political party “refused to cooperate with UN 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”.
In November 2017, 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. Her portrait in the college has since been removed.
The Elie Wiesel Award is named for the late Holocaust survivor and author who, like Suu Kyi, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, CNN reported.
More than 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August 2017.
Myanmar’s military has repeatedly denied claims it deliberately attacked Rohingya civilians, insisting instead that it is combating a terrorist insurgency in the province.
The US State Department has labelled the violence in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.