Dublin councillors voted to revoke an award given to Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to protest her handling of violence against Rohingya Muslims in her country, Irish media reported.
The vast majority of councillors on Wednesday backed the move to revoke the Freedom of the City of Dublin award, with 59 votes in favour, two against and one abstention, broadcaster RTE said.
The decision comes after more than 620,000 of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority fled across the border to Bangladesh, escaping a crackdown by the army which the refugees have said involved murder, rape and arson.
Suu Kyi has faced international criticism for her apparent failure to defend the Rohingya minority; a dramatic fall from grace for the Nobel Peace laureate who spent years under house arrest in Myanmar.
“The daily oppression of the Rohingya people cannot be allowed to continue and if the revoking of this honour contributes to the pressure on the Burmese (Myanmar) government to respect their fellow citizens it is to be welcomed,” councillor Cieran Perry said, quoted in the Irish Independent.
The city council’s decision comes a month after musician Bob Geldof returned his own freedom award at Dublin City Hall, as a protest against Suu Kyi.
“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,” Geldof had said.
The Red Cross estimates only around 300,000 Rohingya remain in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state since the mass exodus started in August, with around 300 continuing to cross the border each day.
Bangladesh and Myanmar last month signed an agreement to repatriate Rohingya refugees, although the United Nations at the time said the conditions were not safe for their return.