Holocaust Museum revokes award given to Myanmar leader over Rohingya ethnic cleansing

Holocaust Museum revokes award given to Myanmar leader over Rohingya ethnic cleansing

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".

The U.S. Holocaust Museum has made a decision to rescind an award honoring Burmese leader and Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been silent on the ethnic cleansing in her country.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was awarded the "Elie Wiesel Award" in 2012 for resisting the country's military dictatorship, including serving 15 years of house arrest.

In a letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, the museum said that she has enabled the ethnic cleansing of the country's Rohingya Muslim population by refusing to cooperate with the United Nations and blocking journalists from reporting on the crisis.

The commissioner also decried authorities in Myanmar destroying potential evidence of worldwide crimes, citing "reports that Rohingya villages which were attacked in recent years, and alleged mass graves of the victims, are being bulldozed".

Appearing for the petitioner Mohammad Salimullah, counsel Prashant Bhushan said that Rohingya refugees be extended the same facilities that were being made available to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have arrived in Tamil Nadu for safe shelter.

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In November a joint report by the Museum and Southeast Asia-based watchdog Fortify Rights - based on testimony they gathered in the field - documented "widespread and systematic attacks" on Rohingya civilians. She was the first recipient of the award other than its namesake, the famous Holocaust survivor and fellow Peace Prize recipient.

Suu Kyi is Myanmar's state counselor and foreign minister.

In January US diplomat Bill Richardson resigned from a Suu Kyi-appointed panel set up to ease tensions with the Rohingya, assailing her for an "absence of moral leadership".

The UN human rights chief on Wednesday called for a new body tasked with preparing criminal indictments over atrocities committed in Myanmar, after a similar panel was created for the Syrian conflict.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled military operations to Bangladesh, bringing with them tales of killings, rape, and arson by Myanmar security forces.

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