Home / World News / Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Freedom of Oxford over Rohingya violence

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Freedom of Oxford over Rohingya violence

Oxford’s council has stripped the Freedom of the City from Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her failure to condemn violence against Rohingya Muslims.

It said it had taken the decision following a unanimous vote on Monday night and that it could not “turn a blind eye to violence”.

Rohingya children are packed on to a boat heading for Bangladesh

Starvation and death on the beaches

In a statement, it said: “When Aung San Suu Kyi was given the Freedom of the City in 1997 it was because she reflected Oxford’s values of tolerance and internationalism.

“We celebrated her for her opposition to oppression and military rule in Burma.

“Today we have taken the unprecedented step of stripping her of the city’s highest honour because of her inaction in the face of oppression of the minority Rohingya population.”

:: Rohingya repatriation will start in two months, says Bangladesh

Acting deputy US secretary of state Simon Henshaw reflected on his own experience on the ground and called on Ms Suu Kyi to act.

Rohingya ‘Aung San Suu Kyi’s responsibility’

The statement added: “Oxford has a long tradition of being a diverse and humane city, and our reputation is tarnished by honouring those who turn a blind eye to violence.

“We hope that today we have added our small voice to others calling for human rights and justice for the Rohingya people.”

Ms Suu Kyi’s husband, Michael Aris, lived in Oxford and her children grew up there.

Crawford VT

Why Rohingya crisis is not called genocide

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Last week, Myanmar signed a deal with its neighbour to allow the refugees to return home.

The UN has described the violence and mass exodus as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, but Ms Suu Kyi has denied this claim and also dismissed allegations of sexual violence against Rohingya women.

Pressure has increased on the Nobel Peace Prize winner to decry the violence.

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‘I think she should be brought to the Hague’

Earlier this month, Sir Bob Geldof handed back his Freedom of the City of Dublin because she holds the same honour.

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