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US Holocaust Museum revokes award to Aung San Suu Kyi

US Holocaust Museum revokes award to Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar is continuing its "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya with a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" in Rakhine state, a United Nations human rights envoy said on Tuesday, six months after a military crackdown sparked a mass exodus of the Muslim minority.

In its statement, the museum dedicated to Nazi's victims of World War II said it "had hoped Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would have done something to condemn and stop the military's brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population" as someone celebrated for her commitment to human dignity and universal human rights.

But the Museum said it was rescinding the award due to her inaction over what it called "mounting evidence of genocide" committed by the Myanmar military against civilians from the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.

The museum accused Suu Kyi of refusing to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgating hateful rhetoric on the Rohingya and denying reporters access to areas where alleged abuses have taken place.

The UN assistant secretary-general for human rights on Tuesday decried the continued "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state and warned of a potential "genocide".

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Zaw Htay, Suu Kyi's spokesman, said in response to a request for comment: "Myanmar has always been supportive of the Holocaust Museum's principles and activities and the purposes of the museum".

The township of Maungdaw has been essentially emptied of its Rohingya community and people continue to flee to Bangladesh because of systematic persecution and violence in other towns and villages, although at a lower intensity than previously, Zeid said.

There were over a million Rohingya who have been living in Myanmar for centuries, but the Buddhist-majority country doesn't recognize them as Burmese ethnicity.

Zaw Htay, Suu Kyi's spokesman said the museum decision was based on "wrong information".

The loss of the award - named after Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and one of the museum's founders - comes as other admirers of Aung San Suu Kyi grow increasingly disillusioned.

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It has justified the crackdown as an effort to root out Rohingya militants who attacked border police posts in August, killing about a dozen people.

Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico and longtime friend of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, recently quit an advisory board on the Rohingya crisis, calling it a "cheerleading squad" for the government. In 2015, her party won in a landslide victory and she became the state counselor.

The Myanmar military's campaign to methodically burn Rohingya villages, seen here from Bangladesh in September, has prompted accusations of ethnic cleansing.

Sara Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust Museum, explained its reasoning in an open letter to the Myanmar embassy in Washington that was published on the museum's website.

Understanding her situation, the Museum authorities mentioned, "We understand the hard situation you must face ... Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented".

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