An online petition asking that Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize be revoked has gathered over 3,65,000 signatures. The petition was during what has been viewed by some as the Myanmar government and Suu Kyi’s inaction over ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state.
So far, at least 1.25 lakh Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh. On September 1, the Myanmar military had said that in a week, nearly 400 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, had died in the violence that ensued.
“Until this second, the de-facto ruler of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has done virtually nothing to stop this crime against humanity in her country,” the petition made on Change.org read. “As a result, there are many of the Rohingyas fled their homes and are stranded in the Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh.”
The petition further says that Suu Kyi appears to be deaf to the violence and has done nothing to protect the Rohingya Muslims. “When a laureate cannot maintain peace, then for the sake of peace itself the prize needs to be returned or confiscated by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee,” it added.
However, the Nobel committee has refused to revoke the prize, AFP reported.
Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 when she was placed under house arrest in Rangoon by the Myanmar’s military. She was released in 2010.
In her first comments since the violence broke out, Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on on September 6 claimed that the situation in Rakhine was being distorted by a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. She told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection.”
The Rohingya crisis
The current exodus began after Rohingya militants allegedly attacked police posts in the restive Rakhine state on August 25. They had targeted 30 police sites at an Army base in a coordinated strike. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army had claimed responsibility for the attack. Violence has been rife in the region, with clashes between Muslim and Buddhist communities.
Myanmar treats the Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not acknowledge their rights as an official ethnic group. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar.