Canadian parliament strips Aung Sang Suu kyi of honorary citizenship over ‘refusal to denounce Rohingya genocide’

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Recognising crimes against Rohingya Muslims as ‘genocide’, the Canadian parliament stripped Myanmar’s leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi from her honorary citizenship over her poor handling of the Myanmar crisis.

Suu Kyi had received the honour from Ottawa in 2007. However, she has been under constant criticism for her failure to condemn the military campaign in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, leading upto 70,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

Canadian parliament’s decision to revoke the symbolic honour was due to a “persistent refusal to denounce the Rohingya genocide”, said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

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“We will continue to support the Rohingya by providing humanitarian assistance, imposing sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and demanding that those responsible be held accountable before a competent international body,” said Austen.

Lawmaker Gabriel Ste Marie, who proposed the motion, told reporters he thought the vote was “a great symbol”.

Member of Parliament Salma Zahid called Aung San Suu Kyi’s “unwillingness to take any moral leadership … inexcusable, and deeply disappointing”.

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Andrew Leslie, serving as Freeland’s parliamentary secretary, said “the machinery of government will chew over the details of what specifically is required to implement” the motion.

Only five others have been given honorary citizenship in Canada, including the Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.

A United Nations Report has stated in its document, written by an independent three-member fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council, that the top military leaders of Myanmar should be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state.

ALSO READ: Two Reuters journalists investigating Rohingya killings sentenced to 7 years by Myanmar court

The report named commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Army, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and said he, along with five other generals, should be prosecuted for human rights abuse and genocide. It said the nature, scale, and organisation of the operations against the Rohingya Muslims “suggests a level of pre-planning and design” on the part of leadership consistent with the vision of Aung Hlaing.

The report said the “clearance operations” to drive out the Rohingya were led by the army, along with other security forces such as the Myanmar Police Force and the Border Guard Police. The report added that some of the most serious violations were committed by divisions reporting directly to Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Soe Win. “Almost all instances of sexual violence are attributable to the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar Armed Forces],” it said.

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