The European Parliament has suspended human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi from all activities of the Sakharov Prize community, sanctioning her for turning a blind eye to the "ongoing crimes" against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims. For decades, Aung San Suu Kyi was regarded as the voice of peaceful resistance to Myanmar’s military dictatorship. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Her advocacy of democratic reform earned her a total of 15 years under house arrest. In late 2016, Myanmar’s army and police launched a crackdown on the Rohingya people, an ethnic and religious minority in the country’s northeast. Saying they were fighting militants, troops systematically destroyed Rohingya villages and allegedly conducted mass executions and rapes. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh, where most remain in refugee camps today.
Suu Kyi has not so much as criticized this campaign, although it bears the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing. At the International Court of Justice last year, she defended the same military that once persecuted her. She questions Rohingya accounts of atrocities, and refuses to even speak their name. Suu Kyi’s record since taking office has lost her many of the honors once heaped on her. Now Europe has turned its back on her too.
UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet has condemned Myanmar for inaction in holding people accountable for crimes against the Rohingya Muslim and other minorities. Speaking at the Human Rights Council on Monday, she also said that recent civilian casualties in Myanmar may constitute "further war crimes". Its these crimes that prompted more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh three years back. But faced with extremely poor living conditions and a lack of opportunities many have attempted to make dangerous sea crossings to countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Just last week, nearly 300 Rohingya were finally able to reach land in Aceh province in Indonesia after spending some 200 days at sea.
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