Suu Kyi stripped of freedom of Glasgow

BBC | Published: 08:35, Nov 04,2017

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (C) arrives in Sittwe airport for an unannounced visit to restive Rakhine state on November 2, 2017. — AFP photo

Glasgow City Council in Scotland has unanimously voted to withdraw their offer to award Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi freedom of the city.

The decision comes following criticism of her response to the Rohingya refugee crisis amid alleged human rights violations in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi was offered the award in 2009 when she was under house arrest as Burma's pro-democracy leader.

Over 600,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since August 25.

The violence began in August when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel.

Myanmar's military denies targeting civilians and says it is only fighting insurgents.

Those who have fled say they are the victims of a campaign to drive them out, and the UN has denounced the operation as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Glasgow's lord provost Eva Bolander said: ‘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. Withdrawal of the offer of this honour is unprecedented and the council's decision has not been taken lightly.’

There have also been calls for Glasgow University to revoke her honorary degree - something which the university say will not happen.

A spokesman for the university said: ‘We have no plans to review the honorary degree awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi. Any proposal to revoke an honorary degree would need to go to the Honorary Degrees Committee and then to Senate as the body which awards honorary degrees.’

Glasgow's decision follows Sheffield stripping Kyi of her honour saying she has shown ‘Wilful ignorance’ of the crisis.

Councillor Soryia Siddique said: ‘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. The city's reputation could have been tarnished by continuing to honour those turning a blind eye to violence.’

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