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“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said in a letter to Suu Kyi released by the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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the