Holocaust Museum revokes Suu Kyi's human rights award

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi   | Photo Credit: AP

The United States Holocaust Museum is revoking a major human rights award given to Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi saying she has failed to respond adequately to the mass killings of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

The museum announced on Wednesday that the Elie Wiesel Award given to Ms. Suu Kyi in 2012 would be rescinded. The move is just the latest in a series of blows to Ms. Suu Kyi’s international reputation, which has plummeted over the Rohingya massacres.

In response to the museum’s action, a spokesman for Ms. Suu Kyi said the decision appeared to be based on “the wrong information” and that it made the Myanmar government “very disappointed and sad.”

Ms. Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest in Myanmar for opposing the country’s military dictatorship. She became an international rallying point and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Her party won a landslide victory in 2015 and she assumed the newly created post of state counsellor, although the military still retains significant political and economic power.

Zaw Htay, Ms. 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. But now, now the latest situation in Rakhine state, we see that the Museum has no balance perceptions on us.”

The Holocaust Museum has embraced the plight of the Rohingya in recent years, and published a report in November that concluded there was “mounting evidence of genocide” committed by both the military and armed Buddhist extremists.

In a letter to Ms. Suu Kyi released on Wednesday, the museum accused her government of obstructing United Nations investigators and promoting “hateful rhetoric” against the Rohingya community, even as it acknowledged she has little influence over the military.

The museum had hoped Ms. Suu Kyi “would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” the letter stated. “The severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation.”

Three former fellow Nobel Peace laureates last month accused Ms. Suu Kyi and the army of committing genocide in northern Rakhine state. They said that as the country’s leader she cannot avoid responsibility. Her government has defended the military operation in the north and has embraced the prosecution of journalists along with other attempts to suppress and discredit the media.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 1:39:46 AM |

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