Holocaust Museum Strips Suu Kyi of Award

By The Irrawaddy 8 March 2018

YANGON — The Myanmar Embassy in Washington, D.C., stated that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was “misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in Rakhine State” upon the museum’s revocation of its Elie Wiesel Award from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The museum released an announcement on Tuesday about the withdrawal of the award that they honored her with in 2012, stating that the Myanmar State Counselor had failed to use her moral authority to address the Myanmar military’s orchestration of crimes against Rohingya Muslims.

More than 680,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh after army clearance operations in northern Rakhine State since August last year in the wake of serial attacks on security outposts in the region by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

Those who made it to camps on the Bangladeshi side reported arbitrary killings, rapes and torching of property by the Myanmar Army. The UN labeled the actions as ethnic cleansing.

In its statement, the museum dedicated to Nazi’s victims of World War II said it “had hoped Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population” as someone celebrated for her commitment to human dignity and universal human rights.

“We understand the difficult situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution’s still powerful constitutional role. 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,” said the statement.

On Wednesday, The Myanmar Embassy in Washington said: “We immensely regret that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has been misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in fair judgment on the situation in Rakhine State.”

It continued that the decision of the museum would have “no bearing on the determination of Myanmar people in supporting the leadership of the State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in nation-building but will make the government to redouble its effort in finding a lasting solution in Rakhine State.”

The museum is the first US institution to revoke an award from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Since last year, the Nobel laureate has had at least three honors stripped, including the Freedom of the City awards by Oxford, Glasgow and Sheffield City Councils and the Honorary Presidency award by the London School of Economics.