By: Brian Kim
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday, March 7th announced that it was rescinding the Elie Wiesel Award given to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012. The Nobel laureate, who is serving as Myanmar’s civilian leader is accused of failing to intervene in the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority crisis. Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized for failing to use her “moral authority” to halt the brutality against the minority.
The prestigious Elie Wiesel Award is named after the late Holocaust survivor who is also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Sara Bloomfield, the director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum stated that the organization “did not take this decision lightly.” Furthermore, the museum felt that they were compelled to act due to the mass displacements and killings of the Rohingya minority. Bloomfield continued to say that Suu Kyi’s political party “refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgated hateful rhetoric against the Rohyingya community, and denied access to and crack down on journalists trying to uncover the scope of the crimes in Rakhine State.”
Myanmar’s embassy in Washington, D.C. released the following statement in regards to the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s decision: “We immensely regret that the … Holocaust Museum has been misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in making fair judgment on the situation in Rakhine State.”
Since August, more than 688,000 Rohingya refugees have left Rakhine State. Myanmar’s military continues to claim that it is combating a terrorist insurgency in the province.
In November, Aung San Suu Kyi was also stripped of the Freedom of the City of Oxford award. This was awarded to her in 1997 for “her opposition to oppression and military rule in Burma.” She studied at Oxford University, but her portrait in the university has since been removed.
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