A petition signed by more than 400,000 people urges Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped off her Nobel Peace Prize due to her response over the Rohingya Muslim crisis.
Suu Kyi is the leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy party. She received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her efforts to hold free and fair elections in her country. The petition on Change.org demanding the Nobel Committee to withdraw the award from the leader has now been signed by more than 405,000 people. Suu Kyi has been widely criticised for failing to protect the country’s Rohingya Muslim population.
“Until this second, the de facto ruler of Myanmar [Burma] Aung San Suu Kyi has done virtually nothing to stop this crime against humanity in her country,” the petition says.
However, the Norwegian Nobel Committee refuses to rescind the award, saying only the work which led to the prize is taken into account. There is mounting outrage at reports and allegations regarding the indiscriminate killing of Muslim civilians by Burmese soldiers and Buddhist vigilantes.
Thousands of houses and a large number of villages have been burned down in the Rakhine State, resulting in almost 300,000 Muslims fleeing their homes within only two weeks. According to monitors, up to 1,000 people have been killed. UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said the violence bordered on ethnic cleansing.
The Burmese military claims clearance operations are underway following attacks by Rohingya insurgents at the end of August. They deny indiscriminate slaughter and blame insurgents for killing Muslim civilians. Suu Kyi also held the ‘terrorists’ responsible and claimed the controversy was the result of “a huge iceberg of misinformation”.
The United Nations has appealed for aid in order to tackle a humanitarian crisis in Rohingya refugee camps and makeshift shelters in southern Bangladesh where a large number of Rohingyas have fled.
It reported that the influx of distressed refugees was “showing no signs of stopping”.
“It is vital that aid agencies working in Cox’s Bazar have the resources they need to provide emergency assistance to incredibly vulnerable people who have been forced to flee their homes and have arrived in Bangladesh with nothing,” the UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Robert Watkins said.
Agencies immediately required $77m (£58m) to deal with the emergency.
This story originally appeared on the Independent.