Amnesty International has withdrawn a prestigious human rights award from Aung San Suu Kyi, following what it described as a “shameful betrayal” of the values she once stood for.
It is the latest in a series of accolades to be withdrawn from Aung San Suu Kyi, including the US Holocaust Museum’s Elie Weisel award and Freedom of the City awards, which were revoked by Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle, The Guardian reported.
Amnesty International said on Monday that Aung San Suu Kyi, now Myanmar’s civilian leader, was no longer a symbol of hope, and that it had withdrawn its highest honour, the ambassador of conscience award. It cited her “apparent indifference” to atrocities committed against the Rohingya and her increasing intolerance of freedom of speech.
Aung San Suu Kyi received the ambassador of conscience award in 2009, while under house arrest, for her role in championing peace and democracy. She was described as “a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defence of human rights” by Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s then secretary general.
Kumi Naidoo, the organisation’s current secretary general, said in a letter to Aung San Suu Kyi that her ambassador title could no longer be justified.
“Our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself,” Naidoo wrote in the letter.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely accused of being apathetic or complicit in the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, who, the UN has warned, continue to be targeted in an “ongoing genocide”.
More than 700,000 Rohingya people remain in Bangladesh, having fled a brutal military crackdown that began in August 2017. UN investigators said that during the campaign, Myanmar’s military carried out killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent”, and called for the commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.