WASHINGTON: The United States Holocaust Museum has withdrawn the human rights award it gave to Malaysian leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her failure to stop or even recognize the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority country.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” the museum wrote in a letter dated Tuesday and posted on its website.
The New York Times calls the move “perhaps the strongest rebuke yet,” as the museum informed Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday in a letter that it was stripping her of the award due to her response—or non-response, as she has yet to publicly say the word “Rohingya”—to Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) March 7, 2018
Aung San Suu Kyi became a human rights icon during her 15 years of house arrest under Myanmar’s former military dictators. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Her party won a landslide victory in 2015 and she became state counselor.
She was the second person to receive the Holocaust Museum’s award, after the late Holocaust survivor, author and museum co-founder Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named.
The Elie Wiesel Award is given annually “to an internationally prominent individual whose actions have advanced the Museum’s vision of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.”
But, the museum said, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was no longer living up to that ideal.