Amnesty International says the last straw in its decision to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of its Ambassador of Conscience Award is her refusal to allow the UN Human Rights Council to investigate abuses in her country.
Amnesty says it’s disappointed in the Myanmar leader who once represented courage and hope has lost her conscience.
San Suu Kyi once a poster-girl for human rights. Her persistent opposition to the military junta in Myanmar and her fight for human rights made her a household name.
However, the towering image is cracking; Amnesty International has withdrawn its award.
Amnesty international Shemilla Mahomed says, “ambassador of conscience is not the award, it’s the fact that we have seen you as somebody with a conscience Madiba was our ambassador of conscience so it’s somebody that we think has the ability to make a difference and she has proven us wrong.”
San Suu Kyi came to power in April 2016. Amnesty International had named her Ambassador of Conscience in 2009 but she was unable to receive that award as she was still under house arrest.
“If you look at San Suu Kyi she is using the same laws that were used against her to close down spaces in Myanmar,”says Mahommed.
It was the Rohingya massacres and mass exodus that was her undoing. Last year more than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims were fled to neighbouring Bangladesh while others were killed and raped by soldiers.
Journalists are arrested for reporting the atrocities and Suu Kyi’s silence was damning
“One of the worst things that as Amnesty we feel strong about, is that the Human Rights council in October took a brave position, where they passed a resolution that human rights violations need to be investigated but she is refusing to allow investigators – and without evidence we cannot do what amnesty would like to see which is bringing these people to the international criminal court,” says Mahommed.
Amnesty International has stripped her of the prestigious Award
Mahommed says, “it’s very sad for us that we have been extremely disappointed we feel like she has not been able to live up to what the ambassador of conscience is all about actually feel like she’s lost a conscience.
On the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore the US added its voice to calls for accountability.
US Vice President Mike Pence says, “The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse. I’m anxious to hear about the progress that you’re making holding those accountable who are responsible for the violence.”
San Suu Kyi says, “In a way, we can say that we understand our country better than any other country does. I’m sure you will do the same of yours – that you understand your own country better than anybody else does. So, we are in a better position to explain to you what is happening, how we see things panning out, and we welcome all friends to help us and support us in everything that we are doing to come to make the country a safer and more prosperous place for everybody.”
Amnesty says it is stepping up efforts to hold San Suu Kyi and other leaders around the world accountable