Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Freedom of Sheffield

Aung San Suu Kyi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Aung San Suu Kyi was granted the Freedom of the City of Sheffield in 2005

Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Sheffield because of her response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Myanmar's de facto leader was awarded the honour in 2005 for her commitment to democracy and human rights.

But a motion, passed by Sheffield City Council, said she had shown "wilful ignorance" of the current crisis.

Almost a million Rohingya people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh after violence erupted in August.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh

The violence began when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel, triggering a military crackdown.

Myanmar's military says it is fighting insurgents and denies targeting civilians.

But those who have fled say they are the victims of a brutal campaign to drive them out, and the UN has denounced the operation as "ethnic cleansing".

Ms Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest between 1989 and 2010 while Myanmar (formerly Burma) was ruled by a military dictatorship.

In 2015 she led the National League for Democracy movement into power after 50 years of military domination.

Council leader Julie Dore said that "as a renowned champion of democracy and human rights", Ms Suu Kyi must "do all she can to end the violence".

She said it was "no longer appropriate" for Ms Suu Kyi to hold the Freedom of Sheffield.

Ms Suu Kyi was one of only 11 foreign dignitaries, including Nelson Mandela and Yemeni human rights activist Tawakul Karman, to be granted the honour.

Honorary freemen do not enjoy any constitutional privilege but admission as an honorary freeman is "the highest honour the city can bestow"

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