US Holocaust Museum rescinds prize given to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

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THE US Holocaust Memorial Museum said yesterday it is stripping Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of a prestigious human rights award, accusing her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

A museum statement said that under her leadership, the National League for Democracy has refused to cooperate with the United Nations, promoted hate speech against the Rohingya and actively worked to prevent journalists from exposing "the scope of the crimes" in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's Elie Wiesel award six years ago, will see the award rescinded over her inaction in the Rohingya crisis. She was the first recipient of the award other than its namesake, the famous Holocaust survivor and fellow Peace Prize recipient.

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For her years of struggle against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, the museum awarded Myanmar's civilian leader State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi the Elie Wiesel Award, a great honor named after the museum's founder, a respected fellow Nobel Prize victor and a Holocaust survivor.

The museum's letter to Aun San Suu Kyi accuses her of promoting "hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya community" and urges her to take a stance on the issue with a quote from Wiesel: "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim".

We understand the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution's still powerful constitutional role.

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But she has increasingly been under fire for failing to speak out and oppose the country's military campaign against the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar.

"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 is with great regret that we are now rescinding that award.

Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since Myanmar began systematically targeting Rohingya armed groups. She spent years under house arrest for opposing Myanmar's military leaders before her party won at the polls in 2015, propelling her to become state counsellor.

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Yet, she has refused to do so, telling the worldwide community to mind its own business and preventing human rights investigators from visiting western Rakhine state, where the worst of the violence has taken place.

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