Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

US Holocaust Museum Revokes Prestigious Elie Wiesel Award to Suu Kyi

US Holocaust Museum Revokes Prestigious Elie Wiesel Award to Suu Kyi

In 2012, the Holocaust Museum presented Suu Kyi with "the first Elie Wiesel Award" for her pro-democracy efforts under decades of military rule.

As a living memorial to the Holocaust, the Museum's mission is to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Prevented by Myanmarese law from running for political office, she holds the title of state counselor and foreign minister.

Aung San Suu Kyi had earned comparisons to South Africa's Nelson Mandela after spending 15 years under house arrest for opposing the country's military dictatorship.

However, the Museum said it was rescinding the award due to her inaction over what it called "mounting evidence of genocide" committed by the Myanmar military against civilians from the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state. It is with great regret that we are now rescinding that award.

The Burmese military, allied with armed Buddhist civilians, has killed thousands of Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine since last August.

But her global reputation has plummeted over the Rohingya massacres and she has been criticised as an apologist for the purges.

The US has described Myanmar's denials of ethnic cleansing as "preposterous" and called on the United Nations security council to pressure Aung San Suu Kyi "to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country". Several governments, human rights groups and global organizations have warned that the military's offensive may amount to ethnic cleansing.

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The museum said Suu Kyi failed to live up to the standards it expected of the award's recipients.

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy have refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, fed hate attacks on the Rohingya and denied reporters access to areas where alleged abuses have taken place, the museum said in a letter to Suu Kyi that was posted on its website.

Gilmour said the ongoing violence makes it impossible to send Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh back to Myanmar.

More than 40,000 people have been "lost" and are presumed dead after being forced to migrate to neighboring Bangladesh, according to a report published by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) earlier this month.

Two Reuters journalists, who were investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men and their burial in a mass grave, were arrested and face 14 years in prison.

"I have also received reports of the appropriation of land inhabited by Rohingya and their replacement by members of other ethnic groups". Authorities in Myanmar accuse them of possessing state secrets.

In its letter, the Holocaust Museum acknowledged "the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule". The museum implores her to "use your moral authority to address this situation" and ends with words from Wiesel himself: "Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented".

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