S. Korean rights foundation strips Aung San Suu Kyi of award

SEOUL • One of South Korea's largest human rights groups will strip Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its 2004 prize because of her "indifference" to the atrocities against the Rohingya minority, organisers said yesterday.

Ms Suu Kyi was unable to receive the Gwangju human rights award at the time because she was under house arrest by the military junta.

Her party has since taken office in Myanmar and the Nobel Peace Prize winner holds the title of state counsellor, but the one-time champion of democracy has been widely accused of apathy or complicity in the plight of the Rohingya.

The UN has warned that the Muslim minority continue to be targeted in an "ongoing genocide".

"Her indifference to the atrocities against the Rohingya runs against the values the award stands for - protecting and promoting human rights," said the May 18 Memorial Foundation's spokesman Cho Jin-tae. As a result, the foundation's board decided on Monday to withdraw her award, he added.

The foundation was set up in 1994 to commemorate the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju, which ended in a bloodbath by martial law troops that left more than 200 people killed or wounded.

But the insurrection against then military dictator Chun Doo-hwan inspired pro-democracy protests which culminated in a restoration of democracy seven years later.

Last month, Amnesty International withdrew its prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award from Ms Suu Kyi, citing her "apparent indifference" to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2018, with the headline 'S. Korean rights foundation strips Aung San Suu Kyi of award'. Print Edition | Subscribe