US Holocaust Museum Rescinds Award to Myanmar's Suu Kyi

  • US Holocaust Museum Rescinds Award to Myanmar's Suu Kyi

US Holocaust Museum Rescinds Award to Myanmar's Suu Kyi

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee said last month that Aung San Suu Kyi could be complicit in the systematic persecution of the Rohingya people, in violence that "bears the hallmarks of genocide".

It is the latest expression of the worldwide opprobrium being heaped on Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize victor who, within the space of a few months, has gone from being a human rights hero to a leader increasingly spoken of as presiding over a genocide. The prize is awarded to people who uphold the vision "of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity".

Since security forces renewed what they call "clearance operations" last August, more than 671,000 Rohingya, majority children, have fled Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh with little more than accounts of the atrocities they witnessed.

Aung San Suu Kyi was the second person to receive the Elie Wiesel Award, after only Wiesel himself. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded that the brutal attacks and eradication of whole villages was meant to prevent the return of Rohingya to Myanmar.

Other Myanmar leaders have denied that Rohingya Muslims exist, and one official has called the reports of the massacre "fake news", the Hill reported.

In a letter to Suu Kyi, the museum authorities have stated, " It is with great regret that we are ... rescinding that award".

Zaw Htay, Suu Kyi's spokesman said the museum decision was based on "wrong information".

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest in 2010 and, in 2015, ascension to the role of state counsellor after her party's landslide victory at the polls raised hopes that the country had finally emerged from decades of military dictatorship.

Zaw Htay, Suu Kyi's spokesman, said in response to a request for comment: "Myanmar has always been supportive of the Holocaust Museum's principles and activities and the purposes of the museum". The attacks have prompted almost 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

It added: "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".

"I am not surprised by reports that Rohingya villages, which were attacked in recent years, and the alleged mass graves of the victims, are being bulldozed", UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement at the 37th session of Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

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.

This is just the latest hit on Suu Kyi's popularity.

"The military's orchestration of the crimes against Rohingya and the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation", the museum wrote in its letter.

Though she is Myanmar's civilian leader, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's power is limited in the face of the military's continued popularity and domination of the country's economy and its important institutions.