Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amnesty strips Suu Kyi of highest honour

Amnesty strips Suu Kyi of highest honour

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Aung San Suu Kyi attends a ceremony marking the 71th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day in Yangon on July 19. YE AUNG THU/AFP

Amnesty strips Suu Kyi of highest honour

AMNESTY International on Monday stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour over the de facto Myanmar leader’s “indifference” to the atrocities committed by the military against Rohingya Muslims.

It was the latest in a string of awards the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner lost since Myanmar’s military drove 720,000 Rohingya out of the Buddhist majority country in what the UN has called an act of genocide.

The London-based global human rights organisation said it was revoking the Ambassador of Conscience Award it gave Suu Kyi in 2009 while she was still under house arrest.

“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said in a letter to Suu Kyi released by the group.

“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.”

Amnesty said it informed the 73-year-old of the decision on Sunday. She has so far issued no public response.

Fallen icon

Suu Kyi was globally hailed as a freedom fighter who stood up to her country’s feared military junta while spending 15 years under house arrest.

Her plight received added attention when she was visited by Hillary Clinton when the two-time US presidential candidate was still Secretary of State in 2011.

Suu Kyi then reaffirmed her committment to working with the US to bring democracy to her country of around 50 million people.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to power in a 2015 landslide that brought hope of Myanmar correcting injustices inflicted over 50 years of brutal military rule.

But her tenure has been marred by a failure to speak up for Rohingya Muslims. Her government is also fighting an uphill struggle against corruption and local conflicts.

Amnesty said it believes thousands of Rohingyas were killed in Myanmar’s western Rakhine province since the campaign began August 2017.

Many more are thought to have been either tortured and raped.

Myanmar has justified the military’s actions as necessary to combat terrorism.

Amnesty conceded that the civilian government Suu Kyi informally heads does not directly control the powerful security services.

But it accused her of standing up for the crimes and “obstructing international investigations into abuses”.

It added that human rights campaigners and journalists continued to be detained and intimidated by the government since her party’s victory.

Suu Kyi was stripped of her honourary Canadian citizenship over her failure to speak up for the Rohingyas last month.

She has also lost numerous smaller awards from individual universities and local and regional governments.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this