South Korean foundation scraps award for Aung San Suu Kyi

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi receiving the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on Jan 31, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - 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 on Tuesday (Dec 18).

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 United Nations has warned the Muslim minority continues 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," spokesman Cho Jin-tae of the May 18 Memorial Foundation told AFP.

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 the country's 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 Suu Kyi, citing her "apparent indifference" to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya.

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