Amnesty strips Aung San Suu Kyi of highest honour

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty's highest honour over 'shameful betrayal'

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty's highest honour over 'shameful betrayal'

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that it had withdrawn its most prestigious human rights prize from Suu Kyi, accusing her of perpetuating human rights abuses by not speaking out about violence against the Rohingya.

Today, the Myanmar authorities and citizens leapt to her defence calling the move 'childish'.

More than 720,000 Rohingya have been driven over the border to Bangladesh in a crackdown that started in August 2017. Many more are thought to have been either tortured and raped.

A United Nations fact-finding mission on Myanmar found "crimes against humanity have been committed against the Rohingya" and that these acts were sanctioned by top Myanmar military commanders.

Aung San Suu Kyi's denial of the gravity and scale of the atrocities means there is little prospect of the situation improving for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in limbo in Bangladesh or for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State. Aung San Suu Kyi has previously said her civilian government should not bear all responsibility for the crisis because the military retains a powerful political role under the constitution.

In a letter advising Ms Suu Kyi of the move, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty's secretary general, said: "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".

'Amnesty International can not 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's "Ambassador of Conscience Award" was bestowed in 2009 and other recipients include Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai and Ai Wei Wei.

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The organisation has now taken the unprecedented step of withdrawing the award.

The party won elections in 2015 ending decades of military-backed rule. It's like when children aren't getting along with each other and take back their toys, ' 50-year-old Khin Maung Aye said.

"When Malaysia became independent in 1957, we had people of foreign origin. but we accepted all of them", he said.

Myanmar's de-facto leader was given the Ambassador Of Conscience award in 2009 while under house arrest after years of opposing the military regime.

She is yet to comment on Amnesty's decision herself but has in the past shrugged off questions about withdrawn awards.

"Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to speak out for the Rohingya is one reason why we can no longer justify her status as an Ambassador of Conscience".

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

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