release from house arrest in 2010 and, in 2015, ascension to the role of state counsellor after her party's landslide victory at the polls raised hopes that the country had finally emerged from decades of military dictatorship. In response, Barack Obama relaxed sanctions, gave financial assistance and became the first sitting USA president to visit Myanmar.

The museum's decision is perhaps the strongest rebuke yet of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been increasingly criticised as a seemingly unrepentant apologist for Buddhist nationalism and the Myanmar military's campaign of ethnic violence.

Sara Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust Museum, explained its reasoning in an open letter to the Myanmar embassy in Washington that was published on the museum's website.


Suu Kyi was awarded the Elie Wiesel award six years ago "for her courageous leadership and great personal sacrifice in resisting tyranny and advancing the freedom and dignity of the Burmese people".

The museum said it is taking back the Elie Wiesel Award given in 2012 because of what it calls Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to oppose the ethnic cleansing and possible genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya minority.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have been driven across the border into Bangladesh, bringing with them scant possessions and countless tales of atrocities, including gang rapes, the murder of children and the destruction of entire villages, The Post reported recently.

The museum's letter to Aun San Suu Kyi accuses her of promoting "hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya community" and urges her to take a stance on the issue with a quote from Wiesel: "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim".


The Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, investigating the deaths of 10 Rohingya men and their burial in a mass grave, were arrested and face 14 years in prison.

Rohingya Muslim women refugees wait to receive aid at the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh, Jan. 27, 2018.

Bloomfield acknowledged: "We understand the hard situation you must face in confronting decades of military misrule and violence in your country and that institution's still powerful constitutional role".

"The military's orchestration of the crimes against Rohingya and the severity of the atrocities in recent months demand that you use your moral authority to address this situation", the museum's letter said. Named after the late Holocaust survivor and author who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the award recognizes public figures who have combated hate and genocide and advanced human dignity.


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