Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of freedom of Edinburgh

Edinburgh councillors have revoked the Freedom of the City granted to Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 8:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 9:04 pm
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Edinburgh. Picture; Getty
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Edinburgh. Picture; Getty

The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Edinburgh, awarded to her in 2005 for her dedication to democracy in her homeland.

The move, prompted by her failure to condemn the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims by her country’s army, comes after the city council wrote to her on the issue in November and received no response.

Yesterday the council unanimously approved a motion from Lord Provost Frank Ross to remove the hononour with immediate effect.

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FILE PICTURE Aung San Suu Kyi. See SWNS story CPNOBLE; The former Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to have her Freedom of Edinburgh award revoked. The 73-year-old leader of Myanmar - formerly Burma - was given the Capital's highest honour in 2005 when she was still in opposition and under house arrest. At the time she was hailed as a beacon of democracy. But now Lord Provost Frank Ross is leading the bid to remove the title amid accusations she has ignored violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. It is only the second time in 200 years that anyone has been stripped of the title.

Councillor Ross said the letter he sent on behalf of the council had asked Ms Suu Kyi to help allow the United Nations into the country in a bid to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

The council had used every possible channel to communicate with her but had received no reply, he said.

“Meanwhile, we have seen the humanitarian crisis continue to develop and deteriorate.”

He continued: “This award is granted to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of Edinburgh.

“In particular, for Aung San Suu Kyi, the award was in recognition of her personal courage and relentless pursuit of democratic justice.

“I believe that is no longer appropriate or relevant given the lack or response to our formal writing – we know the letters have been deliviered – and the actions we have seen.”

Green councillor Alex Staniforth said political leaders could not stay silent while ethnic cleansing was carried out in their nation.

Ms Suu Kyi is only the second person to have the freedom of the city removed in 200 years.

In 1890 Irish nationalist politician Charles Stewart Parnell had his freedom of the city – granted just the previous year – revoked following revelations about an adulterous affair.