UK

Bob Geldof To Hand Back Freedom Of The City Of Dublin In Protest Against Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi

'Her association with our city shames us all.'

13/11/2017 09:25 GMT

Bob Geldof will be handing back his Freedom of the City of Dublin in protest against Aung San Suu Kyi, who also holds the award. 

Myanmar leader Suu Kyi has been heavily criticised over her failure to respond to the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya Muslim minority in her country.

Geldof has lambasted the Nobel peace laureate, saying she was a “handmaiden to genocide” whose association with the capital “shames us all”.

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Bob Geldof plans to hand back his Freedom of the City of Dublin.

In a statement the Live Aid founder and musician said he would hand the award back at City Hall on Monday morning, because while he was a “proud Dubliner” he did not want the ceremonial title while Suu Kyi also held it.

He said: “Her association with our city shames us all and we should have no truck with it, even by default. We honoured her, now she appalls and shames us.

“In short, I do not wish to be associated in any way with an individual currently engaged in the mass ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people of north-west Burma.

“I am a founding patron of The Aegis Trust, who are concerned with genocide prevention and studies. Its founders built and maintain the National Holocaust Museum of the UK.

“I spoke at the inaugural National Holocaust Memorial Day at Westminster and in my time, I have walked amongst peoples who were sectionally targeted with ethnic cleansing.

“I would be a hypocrite now were I to share honours with one who has become at best an accomplice to murder, complicit in ethnic cleansing and a handmaiden to genocide.”

ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA via Getty Images
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been heavily criticised over her failure to respond to the 'ethnic cleansing' of the Rohingya Muslim.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh to avoid violence from Burmese security forces since August, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

A Sky News report from Myanmar on Monday detailed the shocking scene thousands of Rohingya find themselves in, with women forced to give birth on a beach and rows of babies lying in the sand.

The Myanmar military have been accused of burning Rohingya homes, forcing them to flee. There are also reports of women being raped.

The Buddhist majority in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, regard the Rohingya as foreign immigrants rather than Burmese.

Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights”, has acknowledged the criticism.

Last month she called for national unity, saying efforts were being made to stem the humanitarian crisis in the makeshift refugee camps strung along the border with Bangladesh.

It is not the first time Geldof has spoken out against her. Last month at a summit in Colombia he described her as “one of the great ethnic cleansers of our planet”.

In his Sunday statement Geldof added: “The moment she is stripped of her Dublin Freedom perhaps the council would see fit to restore to me that which I take such pride in. If not, so be it.”