TEHRAN, Sep. 08 (Press Shia Agency) – Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize because of her country’s persecution of its Rohingya Muslims.
The leader of Burma’s National League for a Democracy, was given the prestigious award in 1991 for campaigning to make her country a democracy. But more than 370,000 people have now signed a petition demanding the Nobel Committee withdraw the award, following increased violence against Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine province.
The Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has also called on Aung San Suu Kyi to end military-led operations against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority that have driven 270,000 refugees from the country in the past fortnight.
The 85-year old archbishop said the “unfolding horror” and “ethnic cleansing” in the country’s Rahkine region had forced him to speak out against Ms Suu Kyi.
Since becoming Burma’s leader last year, Ms Suu Kyi has been widely accused of failing to halt violence against the Rohingya. The latest bloodshed has resulted in 146,000 people fleeing the area, mostly into neighbouring Bangladesh. United Nations agencies believe the figure could rise to 300,000 in the coming days.
Observers say up to 1,000 people have been killed in recent days as military forces have destroyed villages. There are widespread reports of women being raped and civilians being murdered.
Despite evidence that the crimes have been committed by the Burmese military, Ms Suu Kyi has blamed the violence on “terrorists” and claimed the controversy has been caused by “a huge iceberg of misinformation”.
But in her Nobel lecture in 1991, Ms Suu Kyi said: “Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.”
Nobel rules do not allow awards to be withdrawn. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition demanding Ms Suu Kyi’s prize to be taken away.