The Norwegian Nobel Institute, which selects the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, said on Friday that Myanmar’s Aung Sang Suu Kyi cannot be stripped of the award she was given in 1991. Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 10 lakh stateless Rohingyas in Rakhine.
Olav Njolstad, the head of the institute, told AP that neither the rules of the Nobel Foundation nor the will of prize founder Alfred Nobel stipulated the possibility of revoking the prize from laureates.
“It is not possible to strip a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed,” Njolstad wrote in an email to AP. “None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded.”
A petition on Change.org, signed by more than 386,000 people, has called for Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize to be taken away for her inaction against the atrocities that Rohingya Muslims face in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Suu Kyi, now Myanmar’s de facto leader, had received the award for “her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” while standing up against the military regime in the country.
The more than 1.5 lakh Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh have described the scale of violence they face face in Myanmar, allegedly by Army troopers and the Buddhist majority. Suu Kyi has dismissed the Rohingya crisis as a “huge iceberg of misinformation” and fake news.