Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford award over her “inaction” in handling the raging Rohingya refugee crisis and turning a “blind eye to violence” in the country that forced over 600,000 people to flee to Bangladesh. Oxford City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to permanently remove the honour given to 72-year-old Suu Kyi in 1997.
We hope that today we have added our small voice to others calling for human rights and justice for the Rohingya people. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, creating one of the world’s most dire refugee crisis. Last week, Myanmar signed a deal with Bangladesh to allow the refugees to return home.
Oxford City Council said that when Suu Kyi had been given the Freedom of the City it was because she reflected the city’s values of “tolerance and internationalism” and as a celebration of her opposition to oppression and military rule in Myanmar but now any association with her would tarnish the city’s reputation.