The Prime Minister has said the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar “looks like ethnic cleansing,” said on Monday as Bob Geldof returned his award ‘for the freedom of the City of Dublin’ in protest of sharing it with the Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Prime Ministers criticism comes after the UN called the situation in Myanmar a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” and many world leaders have even accused the country’s military of overseeing a genocide.
Musician and activist Sir Bob Geldof said this week he was handing back an Irish award “Freedom of the City of Dublin”, which is also held by Suu Kyi in protest over her actions.
The Irish singer and activist said he could not share the honour with Suu Kyi, who has come under heavy criticism for not speaking out against alleged ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingya population.
His statement reads “Aung San Suu Kyi was extravagantly welcomed to this city, and I was a participant to that … and it turned out that she’s a killer, and I don’t want to be on the same list as what the UN described as a genocide,” Geldof said as he handed back the award at City Hall in the Irish capital on Monday morning.
Theresa May’s statement issued through her spokesperson said “We’ve been appalled by the inhumane violence that’s taken place in Rakhine State. It’s a major humanitarian crisis. It’s been created by Burma’s military and it looks like ethnic cleansing,” the spokesman said, using the traditional name for the country.
“Burmese authorities need to stop the violence and ensure access into Rakhine State so that UK aid can provide a lifeline to those who are suffering there.”
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled since the violence in the country’s Rakhine State since August, pouring into Bangladesh with horrific stories of atrocities. Witnesses describing scenes where bodies have been piled up like bamboo in the hills.
In 1948 Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s father helped negotiate the country’s release from imperial control, which the British colonised in 1885, and she was educated in the UK and married to a British citizen.
Suu Kyi has come in for intense international criticism for her handing of the Rohingya crisis, with calls for her to be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize. With the youngest-ever laureate, 20-year-old Malala Yousafzai, also calling on Suu Kyi to condemn the treatment of the Rohingya.
Suu Kyi has repeatedly denied accusations of ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses against the Rohingya. Last month Suu Kyi was stripped of the Freedom of Oxford by the city’s council for her response to the Rohingya crisis.
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