A Holocaust museum in the US has rescinded an award to Myanmar’s state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for failing “to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign” against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which honoured Suu Kyi with the Elie Wiesel award in 2012 for her advocacy for freedom and human rights, said in an open letter to her – published on Wednesday – that she disappointed them.
“As the military’s attacks against the Rohingya unfolded in 2016 and 2017, we had hoped that you – as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights – would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” the letter said.
The museum reminded Suu Kyi that Wiesel once said: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.”
It said the museum had undertaken numerous visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh to obtain first hand evidence so that it could fully understand the extent of the persecution and crimes committed against the Rohingya minority.
The museum said it documented crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and what it called “mounting evidence of genocide” committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya civilians since October 2016.
It also accused the National League for Democracy under Suu Kyi’s leadership of promulgating hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya, denying access to and cracking down on journalists trying to uncover the scope of the crimes in Rakhine State.
“We understand the difficult situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institutions still powerful constitutional role,” the museum wrote to Suu Kyi.
“However, the military’s orchestration of the crimes against Rohingya and the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation.