Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize, the award’s committee told CNN Wednesday, despite allegations by the United Nations that her government is committing genocide.
An independent UN investigation recommended on Monday that Myanmar’s top military leaders be investigated and prosecuted for genocide over alleged human rights abuses committed against the minority Muslim Rohingya over the past six months.
The allegations leveled by the report include indiscriminate killing, gang rape, assaulting children and the destruction of entire villages.
However, there is “no provision” within the Nobel statutes to strip a winner of a prize, Norwegian Nobel Institute Director Olav Njolstad told CNN by phone.
“We continue to call on all involved in Myanmar to ease the suffering of the Rohingya and cease their persecution and suppression,” Njolstad said.
Suu Kyi was awarded the prestigious prize in 1991, when she was an opposition figure in Myanmar. The institute cited her work to “establish a democratic society in which the country’s ethnic groups could cooperate in harmony,” according to its website.
Since the Rohingya crisis flared again last year, resulting in hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring across the border into Bangladesh, some have called for stripping the Myanmar state counsellor of her award.
In March, Suu Kyi’s prestigious Elie Wiesel Award was revoked by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Myanmar embassy in Washington, in a statement, said the museum had been “misled and exploited by people who failed to see the true situation in making fair judgment on the situation in Rakhine State.”
’Suu Kyi, has not used her … moral authority’
Claiming to be battling Rohingya insurgents, the Myanmar military began a lengthy campaign in western Rakhine State in August 2017. Few reporters or outside observers were allowed into the predominantly Rohingya province during that time.
But refugees poured out of Rakhine State, carrying with them stories of rape, murder and destruction, which were described in November by then-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as “ethnic cleansing.”
In its report calling for prosecutions, the UN took the unusual step of naming six of the country’s military leaders, including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
UN mission member Radhika Coomaraswamy said the panel had found “such overwhelming evidence” of wrongdoing and that the command had “such effective control from what we could gather that we could name … who was responsible.”
As for the responsibility of Suu Kyi and her civilian government, which hold power in cooperation with the military, the UN report said they had “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes” through their “acts and omissions.”
“The State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine State,” the report said.