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Canada strips Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

September 28, 2018

Canada's parliament revoked Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's honorary citizenship. It comes as the world's top court conducts a preliminary probe into the mass exodus of the Rohingya people from Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/D. Wong

Canada's parliament on Thursday voted unanimously to strip Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship, given in 2007 for her efforts toward building democracy.

The motion introduced in the House of Commons comes after the parliament expressed its support for a motion adopted last week to recognize the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar as "an act of genocide."

"Our government supported this motion in response to her continued failure to speak out against the genocide of the Rohingya, a crime being committed by the military with which she shares power," said Adam Austen, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Read more: Rohingya genocide: Will Myanmar generals face ICC justice?

"We will continue to support the Rohingya people through humanitarian assistance, targeted sanctions against Myanmar's generals and by pushing for accountability for those responsible through an appropriate international body," he continued.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told reporters on Wednesday that he was open to revoking Suu Kyi's citizenship but said doing so would not solve the crisis in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi shared the Canadian honor with the likes of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the Aga Khan and Malala Yousafzai.

The result of inaction

Suu Kyi's failure to put a stop to the brutal military crackdown by Myanmar security forces and Buddhist mobs on the Rohingya Muslim minority has seen her widely condemned. The UN human rights chief has described the situation as a "textbook example" of ethnic cleansing.

More than 700,000 Rohingya people in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State have fled the country to neighboring Bangladesh to escape the violence.

Read more: Did UN 'self-censorship' aggravate Rohingya crisis in Myanmar?

On September 19, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched a preliminary probe into the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Earlier in September, the world's top court had said it had "jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation allegedly committed against members of the Rohingya people."

The Hague-based court's preliminary examination will collect further evidence before deciding whether a full investigation will be launched.

law/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)