Oxford strips Aung San Suu Kyi of ‘Freedom of the City’ award over Rohingya genocide

Aung San Suu Kyi speaking at Oxford University in 2012

Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been formally stripped of the ‘Freedom of the City of Oxford’ award due to her inaction over the oppression of Rohingya Muslims.

Labour Councillor Mary Clarkson, who proposed the motion, told the BBC: “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.”

In recent months, Suu Kyi has received increasing criticism for her response to the Rohingya crisis.

In September, the governing body of St Hugh’s decided to remove a painting of her from its main entrance, days before the start of the university term and the arrival of new students.

The vote comes on the same day Myanmar’s powerful army chief told Pope Francis there is “no religious discrimination” in Myanmar.

Cllr Clarkson said: “When Aung San Suu Kyi was given the Freedom of the City in 1997 it was because she reflected Oxford’s 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.”

Over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to leave their homes in Rakhine state and flee to neighbouring Bangladesh due to military operations and Buddhist lynch mobs, which the United Nations has described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

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