10/05/2017, 13.19
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Oxford council removes honour to Aung San Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis

The City recognised her in 1997 for her "struggle for democracy". Now she has come under harsh criticism for her handling of the Rohingya crisis. Several British institutions are reviewing or removing honours granted to the democratic leader.

Oxford (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Oxford City Council voted unanimously to support a cross-party motion that said it was “no longer appropriate” to celebrate the de facto leader of Myanmar because of her handling of the Rohingya crisis.

The Council is to hold a special meeting to confirm the honour’s removal on 27 November. It had bestowed the freedom of the city on her in 1997 for her "long struggle for democracy".

Council leader Bob Price supported the motion to remove her honour and confirmed it was an "unprecedented step" for the local authority.

People are "absolutely appalled" by the situation in Myanmar, he said, adding it was "extraordinary" she had not spoken out about reported atrocities in the country.

Since fighting broke out in Rakhine State, the international community has exerted strong pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the military-led campaign, with some calling for her to be stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize she received in 1991.

Islamic nations and various Western powers have criticised the democratic leader for her silence as well as her lack of moral leadership and compassion. Ms Suu Kyi has rejected the accusations and reiterated her commitment to national reconciliation.

Oxford’s decision to remove the honour follows that, last week, of St Hugh's College, Oxford, to remove a portrait of Ms Suu Kyi from display. The Myanmar leader read philosophy, politics and economics at the college from 1964 to 1967, where her late husband taught.

In June 2012, the University of Oxford gave her an honorary degree .

Given the Myanmar government's handling of the Rakhine crisis, other British institutions have decided to review or remove honours bestowed on Aung San Suu Kyi during her campaign for democracy.

Unison, the UK’s second largest trade union, announced last month that it would suspend Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary membership.

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