Aung San Suu Kyi Stripped of Amnesty International’s ‘Conscience’ Award Over Shameful Betrayal of Values She Once Stood For
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Photo credit: PTI images)

Naypyidaw, November 13: The Amnesty International on Monday withdrew its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of her shameful betrayal of values she once stood for. The Amnesty International said,  the Myanmar civilian leader was no longer a symbol of hope, and hence, it decided to withdraw its highest honour as her ambassador title could no longer be justified. Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said, "Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights".

On November 11, Naidoo wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her the organization is revoking the 2009 award. Halfway through her term in office, and eight years after her release from house arrest, Naidoo expressed the organization’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar. Canadian Senate Votes Unanimously to Strip Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi of Honorary Canadian Citizenship. 

Naidoo cited her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression. “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,” wrote Kumi Naidoo.

"Her denial of the gravity and scale of the atrocities means there is little prospect of the situation improving for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya living in limbo in Bangladesh or for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State", Naidoo said.

The London-based global human rights organisation has repeatedly criticized the failure of Aung San Suu Kyi and her government to speak out about military atrocities against the Rohingya population in Rakhine State, who have lived for years under a system of segregation and discrimination amounting to apartheid. It said that Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration has failed to repeal repressive laws – including some of the same laws which were used to detain her and others campaigning for democracy and human rights.

Aung San Suu Kyi was named as Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience in 2009 after recognition of her peaceful and non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. That time, she was held under house arrest, which she was eventually released from exactly eight years ago today.  The Amnesty in its release stated that when she was finally able to accept the award in 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi asked Amnesty International to “not take either your eyes or your mind off us and help us to be the country where hope and history merges.”

Amnesty International further added saying that Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration had stirred up hatred against Rohingya by labelling them “terrorists”. Assuring help and assistance to people of Myanmar, the Amnesty International said, “We will continue to fight for justice and human rights in Myanmar – with or without her support.”