Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of Amnesty International’s highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award in light of her “shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for,” the UK-based rights group announces.
The Ambassador of Conscience Award is the latest in a series of accolades to be withdrawn from Myanmar’s de facto leader, who has been criticised for failing to intervene to stop a campaign of violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
Amnesty said it was withdrawing the award “with great sadness” because of Ms Suu Kyi’s “apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression”.
The UN says Myanmar’s military has killed at least 10,000 Rohingyans, raped and murdered hundreds of women as well as destroyed hundreds of villages. The letter reads in part:
“As an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself.”
“Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights. Amnesty International cannot justify your continued status as a recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience award and so with great sadness we are hereby withdrawing it from you.”
Although the civilian government does not have control over the military, Aung San Suu Kyi and her office have shielded the security forces from accountability by dismissing, downplaying or denying allegations of human rights violations and by obstructing international investigations into abuses.