Aung San Suu Kyi

City of London strips Myanmar leader of highest honour

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Aung San Suu Kyi
Reuters

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the highest honour the City of London can give an individual.

In an unprecedented move, councillors voted to suspend her honorary freedom following humanitarian abuses committed on the Rohingya refugees who have fled the country.

Ms Suu Kyi was given the City’s top honour for non-members in May 2017, decades after she was awarded the Nobel peace prize for non-violent struggles against the previous regime in Myanmar.

Sir David Wootton, who chairs the authority's Freedom committee, said: "The City of London Corporation has today sent a clear message that the violence in Burma and the oppression of that country’s minority Rohingya population cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

“The freedom applications committee will now inform Aung San Suu Kyi of the Court’s decision.”

Previously recipients of the top honour include Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, William Pitt the Elder, and in more recent times, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Professor Stephen Hawking.

Process begins to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of City honour

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Aung San Suu Kyi
Getty Images

The process has begun which could see Aung San Suu Kyi become the first person to be stripped of the City of London Corporation’s Freedom of the City honour over her role in the Rohingya refugee crisis.

The Court of Common Council yesterday voted to begin the process to remove the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s symbolic honour in light of growing international criticism of Ms Suu Kyi.

She has faced international condemnation over her failure to denounce the military for its treatment of Rohingya people amid widespread reports of their abuse in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), where she is de facto leader.

The motion was tabled at the court in the City’s Guildhall Town Hall by councillor and film-maker, Munsur Ali, who has visited Rohingya refugee camps.

Ms Suu Kyi was celebrated in the past as a figure for freedom after she spent years under house arrest as a democracy campaigner while the country was being ruled by a military dictatorship.

While the offer of a Freedom of the City had been made years earlier to Ms Suu Kyi, she finally accepted it in May 2017.

Fresh calls to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of honour

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Aung San Suu Kyi
Getty Images

A renewed call has gone out to strip Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary freedom of the City of London because of the plight of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Councillor Munsur Ali asked yesterday's Court of Common Council to update him on the progress on looking at policies to revoke the freedom.

If approved the de-facto leader of Myanmar would be the first person to be stripped of the honour.

The film-maker said the request was made a year ago and added: “It has taken so long for this policy to be drafted.”

Tens of thousands of Muslims fled the country after a military crackdown last year.

The chairman of the freedoms application committee Sir David Wootton said: “Whilst it deplores the situation in Myanmar it is not the time or circumstances to begin the process to remove the honorary freedom.”

He said he would be happy to “gain the balance of opinion” of councillors.

Earlier this month Amnesty International stripped her of its highest honour