Burmese leader set to lose freedom of Newcastle
Aung San Suu Kyi will become the first person to be stripped of the honour if councillors agree.
Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be stripped of the freedom of Newcastle seven years after receiving the honour.
Council leader Nick Forbes has started the process in protest at the plight of the Rohingya people.
It would be the first time someone has had the freedom of the city withdrawn and the council will debate how it should be done at a hearing on February 7.
Her name has been chiselled on to the walls of the Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall, an honour she shares with Nelson Mandela, Sir Bobby Robson and Alan Shearer, among others.
With great sadness I am proposing that Newcastle removes Freedom of the City from Aung San Suu Kyi. Her failure to speak up against the violence inflicted on the Rohingya Muslims is in conflict with our City of Sanctuary values of human rights and democracy.— Nick Forbes (@nick_forbes) January 29, 2018
Mr Forbes says in a council motion that it was the right decision to grant the honour in 2011 in recognition of Ms Suu Kyi’s long struggle for democracy in Burma.
But since her election as the country’s de facto leader there has been an international outcry over her apparent lack of action to prevent alleged ethnic cleansing of her country’s Rohingya Muslims by security forces.
Mr Forbes says: “As an internationally recognised City of Sanctuary, we cannot stand by and ignore this situation.”
He is calling for councillors’ support “to withdraw the freedom of the city from Aung San Suu Kyi, as a symbol of our criticism of her failure to speak out and act against the persecution of the Rohingya people”.
She has already lost the freedom of Dublin and Oxford.