US Holocaust Museum Rescinds Prize Given To Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

10 March, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Samuel Hayes
  • US Holocaust Museum Decides To Take Back Award To Burmese Leader Over Ethnic Cleansing Concerns

In what the New York Times calls "perhaps the strongest rebuke yet", the museum on Tuesday informed Aung San Suu Kyi in a letter that it was stripping her of the award due to her response-or non-response, as she has yet to publicly say the word "Rohingya"-to Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya". Named after the late Holocaust survivor and author who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the award recognizes public figures who have combated hate and genocide and advanced human dignity.

In a report published last December 12, the doctors' group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. In 2015, as part of Myanmar's transition to democracy, she was elected state counselor, a position akin to prime minister.

More than 40,000 people have been "lost" and are presumed dead after being forced to migrate to neighboring Bangladesh, according to a report published by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) earlier this month. Last November, we released detailed findings based on research on the ground documenting crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and what we termed "mounting evidence of genocide" committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya civilians since October 2016.

The museum posted its March 6 letter to Suu Kyi, sent via Aung Lynn, Myanmar's ambassador to the United States.

Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico and longtime friend of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, recently quit an advisory board on the Rohingya crisis, calling it a "cheerleading squad" for the government.

But Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, the museum said, has failed to live up to that vision.

The Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, investigating the deaths of 10 Rohingya men and their burial in a mass grave, were arrested and face 14 years in prison.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a repatriation deal for the refugees earlier this year, but authorities in Myanmar have refused to allow any worldwide body including the United Nations to oversee the process.

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

Rohingya refugees head for a refugee camp after crossing the Naf River that separates Myanmar and Bangladesh near Palong Khali.

In an open letter a year ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a fellow Nobel laureate, described her as "a dearly beloved younger sister" whose photograph he had long kept on his desk.

In its letter, the Holocaust Museum acknowledged "the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule". Last month, three Nobel peace laureates urged Suu Kyi and the military to end the "genocide" of Rohingya Muslims now or face prosecution.

But the museum said the scale of the human suffering inflicted on the Rohingya demands action. It also called on her to help with a citizenship law which leaves Rohingya people stateless. "Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented".



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