Canada on Tuesday officially revoked the honorary citizenship it had granted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. This was in response to her alleged failure to prevent the crimes committed by Myanmar’s security forces against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, reported AFP. Canada’s senate voted unanimously to strip the Nobel laureate of citizenship on Tuesday.
Last week, the country’s lower house of the Parliament had voted unanimously to revoke the symbolic honour bestowed on the leader. Suu Kyi is the first person to have her honorary Canadian citizenship revoked.
The Senate also recognised the crimes committed by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya as genocide, reported The Star. “We must recognise this atrocity for what it is,” said Ratna Omidvar, who tabled the motion to revoke Suu Kyi’s citizenship. “It is genocide. We must call it as it is.”
Omidvar said that Suu Kyi was no longer a champion for change and human rights. “We need to send a strong signal here in Canada and around the world that if you’re an accomplice of genocide, you are not welcome here,” she said. “Certainly not as an honorary Canadian citizen.”
Adam Austen, the spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said the government agreed with the decision, reported The Globe And Mail.
“Our government supported this motion in response to [Suu Kyi’s] continued failure to speak out against the genocide of the Rohingya, a crime being committed by the military with which she shares power,” said Austen. “We will continue to support the Rohingya people through humanitarian assistance, targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and by pushing for accountability for those responsible through an appropriate international body.”
In August, United Nations investigators said Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gangrapes with “genocidal intent”, and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.
Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than one million stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, many of whom fled to neighbouring countries. Myanmar treats 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 in Myanmar and the Army.
Suu Kyi has avoided any critical comment of Myanmar’s military. Previously, Oxford, Glasgow, Dublin and Newcastle have revoked her Freedom of the City awards. In March, the United States Holocaust Museum also revoked a human rights award it had given her in 2012.