Aung San Suu Kyi receives Sakharov Prize awarded in 1990 – but remains silent on plight of Rohingya Muslims

| October 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

20131022PHT22822_originalMyanmar human rights legend Aung San Suu Kyi finally received her Sakharov Prize on 22 October, 23 years after it was awarded by the European Parliament. “This is a great moment, a moment for which an entire generation in your country but also here in Europe have been waiting for,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

Aung San Suu Kyi thanked MEPs for their support over the years: “Freedom of thought begins with the right to ask questions and this right our people in Burma have not had for so long that some of our young people do not quite know how to ask questions. We want to make sure that the right to think freely and to live according to our conscience is preserved. This right is not yet guaranteed 100%. We still have to work very hard before the basic law of the land, which is the constitution, will guarantee us the right to leave according to our conscience.”

Symbol of freedom and democracy
Schulz called Aung San Suu Kyi a “great symbol of freedom and democracy”. “Despite how long it takes, the people who show strength to fight for democracy will prevail in the end,” he said.
Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest before being released in November 2010. However, since June last year, many Rohingya Muslims have made the treacherous journey by boat from Rakhine State to other countries in the Myanmar region, only to face violent clashes that are reported to have killed at least 237 people.Human Rights Watch has accused the Myanmar authorities and members of Arakanese groups of committing crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya and other Muslims. “The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director.

“The accolades Suu Kyi receives in Strasbourg will be well-merited. She is receiving the Sakharov Prize for her role in standing up to the military junta. As a strong, brave and remarkable woman, she certainly deserves it. However, as Myanmar marches towards new horizons, it is important that the Nobel laureate and peace advocate adds her voice to calls for inter-communal reconciliation, ethnic harmony and an end to violence.”

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Category: A Frontpage, European Parliament, Human Rights