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Amnesty International strips Suu Kyi of ‘Ambassador of Conscience’ award, says ‘profoundly dismayed’

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Human rights watchdog Amnesty International Monday revoked Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, citing her ‘indifference’ over the human rights violations by the country’s military against Rohingya Muslims. In a letter addressed to Suu Kyi, Amnesty chief Kumi Naidoo said that the group was revoking the ‘Ambassador of Conscience’ Award it had given to the leaader in 2009 during her 15-year house arrest.

“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” the letter read. “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.”

The group said that it had informed her of its decision on Sunday. Suu Kyi has not issued any public response yet.

ALSO READ: UN investigator says genocide against Rohingya ‘ongoing’

Aung San Suu Kyi was famously known as the harbinger of democracy after her party took control in 2015, leading to an end on decades of military rule in Myanmar. Since August 2017, which marks the beginning of the atrocities committed on Rohingyas, Suu Kyi has been stripped of several international honours.

A military crackdown in the Rakhine state of Myanmar on Rohingya Muslims led them to flee in estimated number of 720,000, seeking refuge in neighbouring country Bangladesh.

Reports of Rohingyas being raped, tortured and murdered have been circulating since.

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

The United Nations have called the atrocities ‘an ethnic cleansing campaign’ in their findings, rejected by Suu Kyi’s administration as ‘one-sided’, insisting that the crackdown was in reality, a legitimate operation against anti-state operatives.

In October, Suu Kyi was stripped of her honorary Canadian citizenship. In March, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum rescinded its top award while other honours, including the freedom of the cities of Dublin and Oxford, England, were also withdrawn.

However, the Swedish foundation that administers the Nobel Peace Prize has refused to withdraw its award to Suu Kyi, given in 1991, calling her actions although ‘regrettable’.

(with inputs from agencies)

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