Rohingya crisis: Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of highest Amnesty award

The 73-year-old was stripped of her honourary Canadian citizenship over her failure to speak up for the Rohingyas last month.

Rohingya crisis: Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of highest Amnesty award
Photo: AFP

London: Amnesty International on Monday stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour over the de facto Myanmar leader’s “indifference” to the atrocities committed by the country’s military against Rohingya Muslims.

The London-based global human rights organisation said it was revoking the Ambassador of Conscience Award it gave Suu Kyi in 2009 while she was still under house arrest.

“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said in a letter to Suu Kyi released by the group.

Amnesty International cannot justify your continued status as a recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience award and so with great sadness we are hereby withdrawing it from you.” The group said it informed Suu Kyi of the decision on Sunday. She has so far issued no public response.

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to power in 2015 in a landslide victory ending decades of military rule in the southeast Asian country of around 50 million.

But her tenure has been marred by a failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims who were driven out of the country by the army in what the United Nations has called an ethnic cleansing campaign.

The 73-year-old was stripped of her honourary Canadian citizenship over her failure to speak up for the Rohingyas last month.

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She has also lost numerous smaller awards from individual universities and local and regional governments.

More than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the Buddhist majority’s western Rakhine state in a military crackdown from August last year.

Many are believed to have been either murdered or tortured and raped.

Suu Kyi was globally hailed as a freedom fighter who stood up to her country’s feared military dictatorship while spending 15 years under house arrest.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.