Suu Kyi’s actions toward Myanmar crisis ‘regrettable’, but prize won’t be withdrawn, says Nobel chief

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The head of the Nobel foundation, in an interview with Reuters Friday, disclosed that although Myanmar’s leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s actions were ‘regrettable’, in wake of crimes against Rohingyas in the Rakhine state, but her Nobel Peace Prize would not be withdrawn.

A few days before this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be given on Friday in Oslo, Lars Heikensten said  said it made no sense to withdraw awards in reaction to things that happened after they were given, as judges would constantly have to discuss laureates’ merits.

“We see what she’s been doing in Myanmar has been questioned a lot and we stand for human rights, that’s one of our core values,” Lars said.

“So of course to the extent that she’s responsible for that, that is very regrettable,” he added.

ALSO READ: Myanmar military accused of ‘killing’ Rohingya reporters: report

“We don’t believe it would make sense to try to withdraw prizes … it would involve us in constant discussions about the merits about what people are doing afterwards, after they have received the prize,” Heikensten said.

“There has always been and there always will be Nobel laureates that are doing things after they’ve been awarded the prize which we do not approve of or which we don’t think are the right things. That we cannot avoid I think,” he added.

Earlier, the Canadian parliament stripped 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.

ALSO READ: U.S imposes sanctions on four Myanmar military commanders over ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingyas

“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”.

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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