Aung San Suu Kyi honours revoked amid Rohingya backlash

Aung San Suu Kyi honours revoked amid Rohingya backlash
From Al Jazeera - November 19, 2017

Student activists in the UK are working to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of honours bestowed on her during the course of her career as a democracy activist, as anger mounts over her alleged inaction over the Rohingya crisis.

Last week, students at the London School of Economics (LSE) voted to remove an honourary presidency awarded to Myanmar's de facto leader by the Students' Union in 1992, with immediate effect.

In a statement issued shortly afterwards, the union said the move would "act as a strong symbol of our opposition to (Aung San) Suu Kyi's current position and inaction in the face of genocide".

LSE Students' Union president, Mahatir Pasha, told Al Jazeera the organisation has a "long and proud history of embracing political progress and speaking out against injustice".

"We have made clear to the world that LSE students stand in solidarity with the brutally oppressed Rohingya people," he said.

Aung San Suu Kyiled a decades-long struggle against the Burmese military that culminated in a landslide victory for her party in elections held in 2015.

During the course of that campaign, she earned international acclaim and was awarded accolades across the world, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

However, many who once supported her have taken issue with her silence over the Burmese army's ongoing campaign against the Rohingya Muslim people in Rakhine state, which the UN has condemned as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a campaign ostensibly targeting Rohingya armed groups in August.

Journalists and human rights groups have documented widespread rape, killing, and destruction of homes by government troops butAung San Suu Kyi has yet to recognise the atrocities and condemn the Burmese military.

The students at LSE are not alone; activists at her alma mater have also moved to remove the Burmese state chancellor's honours.

In October, students at St Hugh's College at the University Oxford droppedAung San Suu Kyi's name from its common room. In September, her portrait was removed from display.

The 72-year-old leader studied at the college between 1964 and 1967 and is regarded as one of its most famous former students.

Affnafee Rahman, a student of Engineering at St Hugh's, told Al Jazeera he and others at the college were not convinced by the argument that Myanmar's political leadership was powerless to act against its military.

Western governments are reluctant to act, and therefore reluctant to speak of genocide. Academic institutions and student unions can pressure their own governments on this

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