US Holocaust Museum strips Aung San Suu Kyi of human rights award

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US Holocaust Museum strips Aung San Suu Kyi of human rights award

Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of a prestigious award by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum over what it said was her failure to speak out against ethnic cleansing and genocide committed against a Muslim minority in her country.

Suu Kyi does not oversee her country's military or its security operations that set off the exodus of Rohingya refugees, but three former fellow Nobel Peace laureates last month accused her and the army of committing genocide in northern Rakhine state.

In the letter, it was also mentioned, "We had hoped that you - as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights - would do something to condemn and stop the military's brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population".

Instead, it said, her political party, the National League for Democracy, has refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators and added to the anti-Rohingya rhetoric. Several governments, human rights groups and global organizations have warned that the military's offensive may amount to ethnic cleansing.

Suu Kyi is Myanmar's state counselor and foreign minister.

More than 680,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh after army clearance operations in northern Rakhine State since August previous year in the wake of serial attacks on security outposts in the region by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

The Rohingya, described by the United Nations as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Beginning last August, Myanmar's military, joined by armed Buddhist civilians, systematically killed thousands of Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine. She spent years under house arrest for opposing Myanmar's military leaders before her party won at the polls in 2015, propelling her to become state counsellor.

The loss of the award - named after Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and one of the museum's founders - comes as other admirers of Aung San Suu Kyi grow increasingly disillusioned.

In a letter to Suu Kyi, Museum Director Sara Bloomfield insisted that they "did not take this decision lightly", but were compelled to act in light of mass displacements and killings of the Rohingya attributed to Myanmar's security forces.

The party has also obstructed journalists trying to report on the mass murder and expulsion to Bangladesh of the Rohingya.

The Myanmar military's campaign to methodically burn Rohingya villages, seen here from Bangladesh in September, has prompted accusations of ethnic cleansing.

"We understand the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institutions still powerful constitutional role", the museum wrote to Suu Kyi.

Bloomfield acknowledged: "We understand the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution's still powerful constitutional role. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented".

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