Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of the Freedom of Dublin as Burma’s Rohingya crisis deepens
The decision to rescind the honour follows months of silence on the plight of the Rohingya people as a renewed military crackdown has reportedly killed at least 6,700 people
Aung San Suu Kyi holding up her freedom of the city during the ceremony in 2012 when she was finally able to collect the awardGetty Images
Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Dublinover her perceived attitude to the plight of the Rohingya people inBurma.
City councillors voted to strip the Nobel laureate of the award with immediate effect following months of international condemnation of the military’s crackdown on the Rohingya people in Rakhine state.
Since the partial restoration of democracy in 2015, Ms Suu Kyi has served as “State Councillor” and de facto leader of the country even though the military junta still holds sway over large parts of the country’s administration.
Following a string of coordinated terror attacks on police stations in Rakhine by a militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, in August the army began a severe crackdown on the ethnic minority – forcing many to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.
At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed between August and September, according to a report, and about 630,000 have fled the country to escape what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing”.
Many Burmese people consider the Rohingya, who are predominantly Muslim in the majority Buddhist country, to be the descendants of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh but the minority say they can trace their roots back to the ancient Arakan civilisation.
Despite being a well-known advocate for human rights and a long time campaigner for democracy in Burma – she was under house arrest for almost 15 years between 1989 and 2010 – Ms Suu Kyi has been condemned for remaining mostly silent on the issue.
Last month she was stripped of the Freedom of the City of Oxford over her silence and pop singer Bob Geldof said he would hand back his own Freedom of the City award in protest at her having the same prize.
1/10:Rohingya refugee Mohamed Jabair, 21, reveals the burns on his bod, which he said he sustained when his house was set on fire in Myanmar:EUTERS/Jorge Silva
2/10 :Refugee Momtaz Begum, 30, at Balukhali refugee camp. Begum told how soldiers came to her village demanding valuables.After beating her, they locked her inside her house and set the roof on fire. She escaped to find her three sons dead and her daughter beaten and bleeding :REUTERS/Jorge Silva
3/10Imam Hossain, 42, sleeps at Kutupalang refugee camp, near Cox’s Bazar. Hossain said he was returning home after teaching at a madrassa in his village when three men attacked him with knives : REUTERS/Jorge Silva
4/10 :Rohingya refugee Setara Begum, 12, at Nayapara refugee camp. The home of Begum and her siblings was hit by a rocket. The young girl received no treatment for the severe burns to her feet. Her feet healed but she has no toes. Her mother said: ‘She has been mute from that day, and doesn’t speak to anyone. She only cries silently’:REUTERS/Jorge Silva
5/10:Mohamed Heron, 6, and his brother Mohamed Akter, 4, show the burns on their bodies at Kutupalong refugee camp. The boys’ uncle said the burns resulted from Myanmar’s armed forces firing rockets at their village :Reuters
6/10 :Kalabarow, 50, at Leda refugee camp, in Bangladesh. Kalabarow said her husband, daughter and son were killed when soldiers fired on her village in Maungdaw. She was hit and lay on the floor pretending to be dead for several hours before a grandson found her. During their journey to Bangladesh, a village doctor amputated her :REUTERS/Jorge Silva
7/10 :Ansar Allah, 11, at Leda refugee camp in Bangladesh. Allah showed a large scar – the result of a gunshot wound. His mother Samara said: ‘They sprayed us with bullets, as our house was burning’ :REUTERS/Jorge Silva
8/10:Anwara Begum, 36, at Kutupalang refugee camp, near Cox’s Bazar. Begum said she woke to find her home in Maungdaw township in flames:REUTERS/Jorge Silva
9/10:Abdu Rahaman, 73, at Leda refugee camp in Bangladesh. Rahaman, a merchant from Maungdaw, was ambushed while walking on a mountain path with other refugees. A machete thrown at his feet severed three toes:REUTERS/Jorge Silva
10/10: Nur Kamal, 17, described how soldiers assaulted him after they found him hiding in his home in Maungdaw. His uncle found him unconscious in a pool of blood. It took them two weeks to get to Bangladesh. Kamal said: ‘We want the international community to help us obtain justice’ : REUTERS
Now the honour, which was awarded to her in absentia when she was still under house arrest in 1999, has been rescinded with immediate effect following a motion by Dublin city councillor Michael Mullooly.
It followed the band U2, who received their own freedom award on the same day as Ms Suu Kyi, writing to the council urging them to rescind the honour.
The band had previously campaigned for Ms Suu Kyi to be released but said in a letter that she had now “betrayed the principles for which she was so revered”,The Journal reported.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Councillor Andrew Montague said: “What’s happening in her country is wrong and whether she has power or not she should be standing up for the people in her country who are being ethnically cleansed”.
Meanwhile Councillor Mannix Flynn said the award should have been stripped from her much quicker.
“I think the city council could have dealt with this much quicker – this caused a lot of undue stress for the Rohingya people here in Ireland,” he said. “We will take it off this individual and that will send a very clear signal to the world and to Aung San Suu Kyi and the military”.
A Freedom of the City award is a symbolic title which dates back to the mediaeval era. It is designed to honour a specific individual who have made a significant contribution to the city or the world at large.
- More about:
- Aung San Suu Kyi Rohingya Burma Dublin Bob Geldof