Aung San Suu Kyi's award rescinded by US Museum

Mar 10, 2018, 01:50
Aung San Suu Kyi's award rescinded by US Museum

Holocaust Memorial Museum said on Wednesday that it was stripping Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of a prestigious human rights award, accusing her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. They speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, and they have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982.

The loss of the award - named after Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and one of the museum's founders - comes as other admirers of Aung San Suu Kyi grow increasingly disillusioned. In its statement Wednesday, officials noted the museum has been focused in recent years on the military's campaign against the Rohingya, an ethnic group that is mostly Muslim. The operation resulted in tens of thousands of Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, escaping from what they described as hell.

Myanmar's "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims is continuing, a senior United Nations human rights official says, more than six months after insurgent attacks sparked a security response that has driven almost 700,000 people into Bangladesh.

The National League for Democracy, under your leadership, has instead 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. In response, Barack Obama relaxed sanctions, gave financial assistance and became the first sitting USA president to visit Myanmar.

The museum said it hoped that she would have stood up for the Rohingya, who have faced oppression in Myanmar for so long, and done something to stop the genocide. The authorities in Myanmar accused them of possessing state secrets.

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For many of her one-time admirers, her handling of the Rohingya issue has been nothing short of a betrayal.

Since that time, we have undertaken numerous visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh to obtain firsthand evidence so that we can fully understand the extent of the persecution and crimes committed, as well as the motivations and actions of all the responsible parties.

"My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep", he wrote. Last month, three Nobel peace laureates urged Ms Suu Kyi and the military to end the "genocide" of Rohingya Muslims now or face prosecution. The post that she holds, state counsellor, was created after her party's 2015 election victory, as she is constitutionally barred from becoming president.

We understand the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution's still powerful constitutional role.

The Myanmar Embassy in Washington said it regretted that the museum had been "misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation" in the western state of Rakhine. As Elie Wiesel said, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim".