Canada MPs vote to revoke Suu Kyi honour

Canada MPs vote to revoke Suu Kyi honour

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Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Hanoi, Vietnam September 13, 2018 Image copyright Reuters

Canadian MPs have voted unanimously to revoke the honorary citizenship of Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Passing the motion was a response to her failure to stop the persecution of the Rohingya minority in her country.

Ms Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar – also known as Burma – which was then under military rule.

A UN report last month said Myanmar military leaders must be investigated for genocide against the Rohingyas.

At least 700,000 Rohingya fled violence in the country in the past 12 months.

Rare honour

The move by MPs in the House of Commons came a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that parliament was reconsidering whether Ms Suu Kyi still deserved the honour of citizenship.

But Mr Trudeau also said the move would not end the plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people, a Muslim minority which is stateless in majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

In 2007 Canada granted honorary citizenship to Ms Suu Kyi, just one of six people to be so recognised.

Honorary citizenship has been conferred in Canada by a joint resolution of both houses of parliament. Canadian officials told Reuters it must be formally removed the same way.

The next steps are not immediately clear, Liberal MP Andrew Leslie told journalists on Thursday after MPs passed the motion.

“Now the machinery of government will actually chew over the details of what specifically is required to implement,” he said.

Earlier this month, the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion to recognise the crimes against the Rohingya as an act of genocide.

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  • Could Aung San Suu Kyi face Rohingya genocide charges?

In 2015, Ms Suu Kyi became Myanmar State Counsellor, the de facto head of the country’s civilian administration, following a democratic opening in Myanmar.

Since last year, at least 700,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar after the army launched a brutal crackdown in response to attacks by a Rohingya militant group.

Ms Suu Kyi has faced international pressure to condemn the army’s alleged brutality. However, she has refused to do so.

The last time she spoke to the BBC in April 2017, she said: “I don’t think there is ethnic cleansing going on. I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening.”

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