Human Rights organisation Amnesty International withdrew its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday.
Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s General Secretary announced it publicly yesterday on Monday. “Aung San Suu Kyi once stood as a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defence of human rights in #Myanmar. @amnesty recognised her with our highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience award. Sadly, we can no longer justify this honour and today we are withdrawing the award,” Naidoo tweeted.
Sadly, we can no longer justify this honour and today we are withdrawing the award pic.twitter.com/gYenr0HAYg
— Kumi Naidoo (@kuminaidoo) November 12, 2018
Naidoo also attached a letter he wrote to Suu Kyi on November 11 about withdrawal of her honour. The letter said:
Dear Daw Aug San Suu Kyi, Nine years ago, Amnesty International recognised you with our highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience award. When we presented you the award, you clearly stood as “a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defence of human rights, not only to the people of Myanmar but to people around the world.” As an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself. Instead, we are deeply alarmed and disappointed by your clear and consistent betrayal of the very values you promoted for decades. You have chosen to overlook and excuse the brutal oppression and crimes against humanity committed by the military against the Rohingya and against minorities in Kachin and northern Shan States and your office has actively shielded the military from international scrutiny and accountability. We have also seen appalled to witness your administration spread hate narratives against minorities, fostering rather than challenging discrimination and hostility. As an organisation which campaigned tirelessly for your release – and the release of all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar – we are dismayed that your government has not only failed to repeal or amend repressive laws but has actively used them to curb freedom of expression, and arrest and imprison human rights defenders, journalists and other peaceful activists. Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights. 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. We will publicly announce the withdrawal two days from now, on 13 November. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring all people in Myanmar can exercise their rights freely, in dignity, and with equality. Yours sincerely, Kumi Naidoo Secretary General
According to a BBC report, the plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people is said to be the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Risking death by sea or on foot, nearly 700,000 have fled the destruction of their homes and persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma) for neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.
The United Nations described the military offensive in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. However, Myanmar’s military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians.
Suu Kyi, a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient is currently halfway through her term in office during which large-scale violence against the Rohingyas in the Rakhine state and a clampdown on freedom of press was witnessed.