US Holocaust museum rescinds award to Myanmar’s Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis
The museum revoked the award for her failure to “condemn and stop” the brutal military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minoritiesworld Updated: Mar 08, 2018 09:45 IST
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday rescinded a prestigious human rights award it had bestowed on Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to “condemn and stop” the brutal military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minorities.
“It is with great regret that we are … rescinding that award,” the museum said to Suu Kyi in a letter, referring to the Elie Wiesel award, named after a Romanian-American Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, it had given her in 2012. A copy of that letter, dated March 6 was posted on the museum’s website.
Suu Kyi, who is the de facto ruler of Myanmar with the official title of state counsellor and foreign minister, was the first recipient of the award.
The museum said as the repression unfolded over 2016 and 2017 “we had hoped that you — as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights — would do something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population”.
Once a towering figure around the world for standing up to the Myanmar’s military junta and suffering 14 years of house arrest, which won her the Nobel peace prize in 1991, Suu Kyi has in recent months become a target of international criticism and scorn for failing to stop the brutal repression of Rohingya Muslims, which peaked late 2017.
She has not even condemned it, as the museum pointed out.
The museum said, “We understand the difficult situation you must face … (but) the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation.”
An estimated 6,700 Rohingya, including 730 children are said to been killed since August, 2017, when the decades of repression persecution of the community began peaking, and more than 680,000 of them have been forced to flee their homes to neighboring Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi has been criticised by fellow Nobel laureates. Some critics have even demanded for her Noel prize to be rescinded, which has never happened in the 116-year history of the prize. Sormer members of the Nobel committee have said there is very little chance it could be done now.
But the holocaust museum, which started the Elie Wiesel award with Suu Kyi as the first honoree, just did it.
The award is after Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, a Romanian-American survivor of the Holocaust who lost the rest of his family at the infamous Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
The museum wrote to her, quoting Wiesel, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.”
There was no response to a request for comments sent to the Myanmarese embassy in Washington DC.