Aung San Suu Kyi Holocaust Museum Award Revoked

Saul Bowman
March 9, 2018

The U.S. Holocaust Museum has chose to rescind an award honoring Burmese leader and Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been silent on the ethnic cleansing in her country.

As a living memorial to the Holocaust, the Museum's mission is to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.

Aung San Suu Kyi was originally given the award for standing up to the country's military dictatorship and serving 15 years of house arrest, The Hill reported.

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.

"Aung San Suu Kyi's refusal to condemn or halt ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is shameful", McGovern said.

Thousands of Rohingya have been killed and up to 700,000 have fled to Bangladesh as refugees.

The museum announced on Wednesday that it had withdrawn the Elie Wiesel award, presented to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012.

Since Aug. 25 a year ago, over 656,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The museum's decision is perhaps the strongest rebuke yet of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been increasingly criticised as a seemingly unrepentant apologist for Buddhist nationalism and the Myanmar military's campaign of ethnic violence. The military has burned their villages and buried the dead in mass graves.

The United Nations and human rights organizations have collected evidence of widespread abuses by the Myanmar military against the largely stateless Rohingya, including murder, rape and arson.

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.

Her party won a landslide victory in 2015 and she became state counsellor. "The conversation now must focus on stopping the violence in Rakhine State, ensuring accountability for the perpetrators, and the need for Myanmar to create conditions for return", Gilmour said.

"The military's orchestration of the crimes against Rohingya and the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation", the museum's letter said. It also called on her to help with a citizenship law which leaves Rohingya people stateless. "Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented", the museum added in its press statement, quoting Elie Wiesel.

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