Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty International’s highest honor
2 years ago
(CNN) – Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of Amnesty International’s highest honor in light of her “shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for,” the UK-based rights group announced Tuesday.
Amnesty’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo, wrote to Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Sunday informing her of the decision to revoke the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, which she received in 2009.
“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights,” Naidoo wrote. “Amnesty International cannot justify your continued status as a recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience award and so with great sadness we are hereby withdrawing it from you.”
Amnesty criticized the Nobel laureate in a press release for failing to use her “political and moral authority” to safeguard human rights in the country, citing her “apparent indifference” to military atrocities in ethnic areas and “increasing intolerance of freedom of expression.”
Once an icon of the international human rights community, Suu Kyi has been stripped of a number of prestigious awards amid allegations of genocide of the country’s minority Rohingya Muslim population.
CNN has reached out to Suu Kyi’s representatives for comment.
In September, Suu Kyi said that, with hindsight, her government could have better handled the situation in Rakhine state.
Suu Kyi ‘actively shielded the military from scrutiny’
The announcement comes as officials in Myanmar and Bangladesh get ready to repatriate more than 2,000 Rohingya refugees who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State last year.
The Myanmar military has been accused of using rape, murder and arson in a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing that drove more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, where they languish in what has become the world’s largest refugee camp.
The UN has called on the International Criminal Court to investigate Myanmar’s military leaders on charges of genocide.
In the letter, Naidoo said Suu Kyi has “chosen to overlook and excuse the brutal oppression and crimes against humanity committed by the military” and adds that her administration “actively shielded the military from international scrutiny and accountability.”