Canadian Senate Votes Unanimously to Strip Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi of Honorary Canadian Citizenship
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Photo credit: PTI images)

The Canadian Parliament has officially revoked Myanmar’s titular leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship after its Senate unanimously voted for such a move. The decision to do so comes a month after the United Nations finding that Myanmar’s military leaders should face charges of genocide for the crimes against the Rohingya minority.

Canada’s both chambers of the parliament have now unanimously decided to reverse the 2007 decision to grant Suu Kyi an honorary citizenship. At that time,  Suu Kyi was praised internationally as a champion of democracy for her protests against Myanmar’s military junta’s rule and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991.

Independent Senator Ratna Omidvar, who introduced Tuesday’s motion, said Aung Suu Kyi’s silence in the face of the Rohingya crisis created by Myanmar military’s campaign of violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority must be condemned.

“History teaches us, when people in power are silent, that silence is tantamount to complicity,” Ms. Omidvar said after the Senate vote. “It’s important to send this message with one voice from both Houses of Parliament, so that the nation knows we’re all speaking with one voice.”

A United Nations fact-finding mission recently found the Myanmar military was committing genocide against the minority Muslim population and other ethnic minorities, and that Suu Kyi had failed in her duty to protect her own citizens.

The report names six military commanders in Myanmar who should be investigated for genocide in Rakhine state and crimes against humanity in other areas, calling their actions "shocking for their horrifying nature and ubiquity."

It also condemns Suu Kyi for failing to use her power or moral authority to stem or prevent the genocide and fulfil her responsibility to protect the civilian population. Instead, civilian authorities have spread false narratives, allowed hate speech to flourish and blocked independent investigations, the report says.

About 700,000 Rohingya forced to flee the Myanmar’s military crackdown are now living as refugees in camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.