Holocaust Museum Takes Stand Against Aung San Suu Kyi

In 'strong rebuke,' it rescinds Elie Wiesel Award
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 10:30 AM CST
Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, speaks at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on Feb. 13, 2018.   (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

(Newser) – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum gives out its prestigious Elie Wiesel Award to just one person a year, selecting "an internationally prominent individual whose actions have advanced the Museum's vision of a world where people confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity." Now, the second person to ever receive the honor (Wiesel himself was the first, in 2011) has seen it rescinded. In what the New York Times calls "perhaps the strongest rebuke yet," the museum on Tuesday informed Aung San Suu Kyi in a letter that it was stripping her of the award due to her response—or non-response, as she has yet to publicly say the word "Rohingya"—to Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

The letter explains the museum has been "closely monitoring the military's campaign against the Rohingya and your response to it," and that it began publicly airing its concerns about what was happening to the Rohingya in 2013; subsequent visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh have followed. "We had hoped that you—as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights—would have done something to condemn and stop the military's brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population," the letter continues. The museum implores her to "use your moral authority to address this situation" and ends with words from Wiesel himself: "Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

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