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Aung San Suu Kyi won't be stripped of Nobel Peace Prize, committee says

The statement came after a damning UN report termed the treatment of the Rohingya people as “genocide”.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

NORWAY’S NOBEL INSTITUTE has said it had no intention of withdrawing its Peace Prize from Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi after a damning UN report termed the treatment of the Rohingya people as “genocide”.

“There is no question of the Nobel Committee withdrawing the peace prize,” director Olav Njolstad said.

“The rules of the Nobel Peace Prize do not allow it,” he added.

A UN probe released on Monday detailed evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity “perpetrated on a massive scale” against the Rohingya, including acts of rape, sexual violence and mass killings. 

At a UN Security Council session yesterday, a number of countries – including the United States, Britain, France and Sweden – called for Myanmar’s military leaders to be held accountable. 

Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 when she was detained by the military for championing democracy and human rights.

She was only allowed to leave Myanmar to receive the award 21 years later as the military apparently eased its iron grip on the country.

As the Rohingya crisis has deepened in the past year with the flight of hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh, Suu Kyi has come under increasing international pressure to speak out about their plight.

So far, however, she has said very little and steadfastly avoided any critical comment of Myanmar’s military.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee had warned last year about the worsening situation in Myanmar and had urged all parties to do “everything possible to end discrimination against and persecution of minorities”.

Njolstad repeated that statement, adding: “This call is not any less timely after the UN report.”

The Myanmar government today bluntly rejected the UN’s findings.

“We didn’t allow the (UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that’s why we don’t agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council,” government spokesman Zaw Htay said, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. 

He pointed to the formation of Myanmar’s own Independent Commission of Enquiry, which he said was set up to respond to “false allegations made by UN agencies and other international communities”.

Freedom of Dublin

Dublin City Councillors voted last December to strip San Suu Kyi of the Freedom of Dublin.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Freedom of the City on 1 November 1999, the same day all the members of U2 also received the award.

Speaking ahead of the motion, Labour councillor Andrew Montague – who bestowed the honour on Suu Kyi in 2012 when he was Lord Mayor – said he was sad to say he would be voting to remove the Freedom of Dublin from her.

“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,” he said.

Councillors were by and large highly critical of Myanmar and Suu Kyi in their speeches ahead of the vote.

© – AFP 2018 with reporting by Cormac Fitzgerald.

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