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Glasgow Withdraws Honour From Aung San Suu Kyi Over Rohingya Crisis

The Glasgow City Council had offered Aung San Suu Kyi the Freedom of Glasgow in 2009, when she was still under house arrest as Myanmars pro-democracy leader.


Updated:November 3, 2017, 10:16 PM IST
Glasgow Withdraws Honour From Aung San Suu Kyi Over Rohingya Crisis
File image of Aung San Suu Kyi. (Reuters)

London: The Glasgow City Council on Friday became the latest UK institution to withdraw an honour bestowed upon Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the wake of the Rohingya crisis.

The council had offered Suu Kyi the Freedom of Glasgow in 2009, when she was still under house arrest as Myanmar's pro-democracy leader.

"I and the Leader, Councillor Susan Aitken, recently wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi voicing the city's concerns about the human rights atrocities occurring under her watch and urging her to intervene. The response we received was disappointing and saddening, saidGlasgow's Lord Provost Eva Bolander.

The Scottish council said that withdrawing such an honour was "unprecedented" and its decision had not been taken lightly.

Glasgow's decision follows a similar decision by the city of Sheffield, which stripped Suu Kyi of the Freedom of Sheffield earlier this week, saying she had shown "wilful ignorance" of the crisis.

"In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar of the Rohingya people, various UK cities have revoked the Freedom of the City from Aung San Suu Kyi. I'm delighted there was cross-party support for my motion," said Councillor Soryia Siddique from Sheffield Council.

Meanwhile, the London School of Economics (LSE) has taken the first step towards withdrawing an honorary presidency bestowed upon Myanmars de-facto leader. The Students Union has moved a motion to withdraw the honour, which will come up for debate next week.

A spokesperson for the LSE Students Union said: "Suu Kyi's choice to prioritise her tenure in office over anything else has come at too significant a cost her complicity in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. We condemn the Muslim genocide in Myanmar, we condemn all Islamophobia, and we will actively work against any system which is complicit in supporting the violence."

A series of UK institutions have been distancing themselves from the Nobel Peace laureate in the wake of Myanmar Armys repression of the Rohingya minority, nearly 1 million of whom have fled their homes to refugee camps in Bangladesh.

A portrait of the leader hanging prominently at the entrance of St Hughs College, Oxford University, was moved into storage back in September.

While the move was not overtly linked to the Rohingya crisis, it is widely believed that the allegations of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar were behind the decision to remove the portrait from the college where Suu Kyi had studied.

Last month, Oxford City Council voted unanimously in favour of revoking the Freedom of Oxford granted to the Myanmar chief in 1997 for her "long struggle for democracy".

The City of London Corporation has also been debating revoking Suu Kyis Honorary Freedom, bestowed upon her earlier this year.

However, the University of Glasgow, which awarded an honorary degree to Suu Kyi in 1997, has said it had no plans to revoke the award.

The Myanmar leader has come under severe criticism for her failure to openly condemn Myanmars armed forces, and instead claimed there had been no conflicts since September 5 and no clearance operations against the countrys Muslim minority.

She visited the Rakhine province of Myanmar this week for the first time since violence erupted in the state in late August and was criticised for failing to address the issue of refugees who have fled across the border.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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