On March 6, the United States Holocaust Museum has revoked a human rights award it had previously given Aung San Suu Kyi. She is the civil leader of Myanmar, and a Nobel prize winner. The museum cites her lack of cooperation with the UN and denial of the violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar in the letter rescinding the Elie Wiesel Award. “We had hoped that you — as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights — would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” the letter said. Suu Kyi has repeatedly denied the human rights violations occurring in Rakhine state and declared reports of the violence as “misinformation.” Her government has blocked UN investigators from entering the area, and two Reuters reporters have been arrested and face up to 14 years in prison.
Human rights organizations around the world have condemned the actions of Buddhist extremists and Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya. The violence, which has included rape, beatings, and arson, amounts to ethnic cleansing, and is considered to be approaching genocide. The Muslim Rohingya are classified as “illegal immigrants” by the Buddhist majority. “As a living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, the Museum stands in solidarity with victims of genocide and atrocity crimes and attempts to do for victims today what was not done for the Jews of Europe. As Elie Wiesel said, ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.'”
The full text of the letter can be found here.