Amnesty Withdraws Highest Honour Awarded To Aung San Suu Kyi
Disappointed by consistent “betrayal of values she once stood for”
Suu Kyi was stripped off the honour on Monday over the de facto Myanmar leader’s indifference to the atrocities committed by the military against Rohingya Muslims.
73-year-old Suu Kyi, once the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has lost many other awards since Myanmar’s military drove 720,000 Rohingyas out of the Buddhist majority country. The United Nations had termed this move as an act of genocide.
The organisation had informed Suu Kyi of the decision on Sunday. She has so far issued no public response
The global human rights organisation had given the Ambassador of Conscience Award to 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“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” Amnesty chief Kumi Naidoo said in a letter to Suu Kyi. “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.”
Her tenure has been marred by a failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims
Suu Kyi was once globally applauded as a freedom fighter who stood up to her country’s feared military junta while spending 15 years under house arrest. She had even reaffirmed her commitment to working with the US to bring democracy to her country of around 50 million people.
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to power in 2015 that brought hope of Myanmar, correcting injustices inflicted over 50 years of brutal military rule.
Amnesty said it believes thousands of Rohingyas were killed in Myanmar’s western Rakhine province since the campaign began August 2017. The atrocities committed in Myanmar under Suu Kyi and her government include: the murder of thousands of Rohingya, violence against women & girls, apartheid, torture, and burning of villages. Myanmar has justified the military’s actions as necessary to combat terrorism.
Amnesty acknowledged that the civilian government Suu Kyi heads does not directly control the powerful security services. But the organisation accused her of standing up for the crimes and “obstructing international investigations into abuses”. The letter spoke of how human rights campaigners and journalists continued to be detained by the government since her party’s victory.
Last month, she was even stripped of her honorary Canadian citizenship over her failure to speak up for the Rohingyas.
The leader has also lost several awards from individual universities and local and regional governments.
In September, Suu Kyi defended the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists who were given seven-year jail terms after investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Rahkine state. The UN, many international governments, and human rights groups widely condemned her calling it an act of sheer injustice.