Amnesty Yanks Its Highest Honor From Suu Kyi

'We are profoundly dismayed,' group says of Myanmar's civilian leader
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2018 12:37 PM CST
Amnesty Yanks Its Highest Honor From Suu Kyi
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers the keynote speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2018, a parallel summit in the ongoing ASEAN Summit 2018 in Singapore, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. Twenty heads of states are gathering in Singapore for the Summit.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

The "Honors and Awards" section of Aung San Suu Kyi's CV is getting slimmer. Amnesty International on Monday announced it has rescinded an award it bestowed upon her in 2009: the Ambassador of Conscience Award, the group's highest honor. At the time, it described Suu Kyi as "a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights." Now, a changed tune in the face of the atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and her defense of "repressive laws" that have been used to silence journalists: "Today, we are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights," said Kumi Naidoo, the group's secretary general.

"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," Naidoo continued. Now her country's civilian leader, Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time of the award, and its withdrawal coincides with the 8th anniversary of her release from that arrest. The AFP got reaction from people on the ground in Myanmar, including the deputy minister for information's assertion that the withdrawal will only "make the people love her more." Said a 60-year-old in Yangon, "We don't need their prize." The Guardian and AFP report she has also lost the Freedom of the City awards, her honorary Canadian citizenship, and the US Holocaust Museum's Elie Weisel award. (More Aung San Suu Kyi stories.)

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