US Holocaust Museum strips Aung San Suu Kyi of human rights award
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US Holocaust Museum strips Aung San Suu Kyi of human rights award

THE United States Holocaust Museum has revoked a human rights award given to Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, over her failure to use her “moral authority” to prevent brutal attacks against the Rohingya community.

In an open letter addressed to the Nobel Peace laureate, Director of the museum Sara J. Bloomfield said it was with “great regret” that they were rescinding the award, but it was their duty as a holocaust memorial to stand “in solidarity with victims of genocide and atrocity crimes.”

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Suu Kyi was awarded the Elie Wiesel award six years ago “for her courageous leadership and great personal sacrifice in resisting tyranny and advancing the freedom and dignity of the Burmese people.”

It is the latest honour to be revoked from the leader in recent months following her refusal to speak out against the ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State. Others include the freedoms of the cities of Dublin and Oxford, England.

The museum accused Suu Kyi of refusing to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgating hateful rhetoric on the Rohingya and denying reporters access to areas where alleged abuses have taken place.

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Almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August, citing mounting violence from the military, including mass killings, rape, and burning of Rohingya villages.

The United Nations has labelled the crackdown a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Last month, UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar Yanghee Lee said the situation bore all the “hallmarks of genocide,” and accused Suu Kyi of possible crimes against humanity.

Buddhist-majority Burma denies the abuse charges and says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against “terrorists” it blames for attacks on security forces.