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15,000 protest Rohingya killings in Dhaka, Nobel Institute says can’t revoke Suu Kyi’s prize

  • Published at 11:09 am September 9th, 2017
  • Last updated at 03:41 pm September 9th, 2017
15,000 protest Rohingya killings in Dhaka, Nobel Institute says can’t revoke Suu Kyi’s prize
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Dhaka on Friday to protest against the killing of Rohingya Muslims in neighbouring Myanmar. At least 15,000 supporters of the Islamist Islami Andolon Bangladesh party chanted slogans against Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They demanded the Nobel committee revoked Suu Kyi's peace prize over the Myanmar government's treatment of its Rohingya population. The demonstrators moved from Dhaka’s Tongi area to the north of the capital after Friday prayers. "Myanmar army is carrying out a genocide of the Rohingya with the help of Suu Kyi's government. She must be held accountable and tried," said party spokesman KM Atiqur Rahman. Earlier, several thousand supporters of Bangladesh's main opposition political party formed a human chain to protest against the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya minority. However, the organisation that oversees the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday said the 1991 prize awarded to Suu Kyi cannot be revoked. The organisation on Friday said neither the will of prize founder Alfred Nobel nor the Nobel Foundation’s rules provide for the possibility of withdrawing the honour from laureates. "It is not possible to strip a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed," Mr Njolstad said. "None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded." More than 386,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org, calling for Suu Kyi’s Peace Prize to be stripped from her due to the persecution of her country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. She received the award for “her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights” while standing up against military rulers. When Myanmar held its first free election in 2012, she led her party to a landslide victory and became the country’s de facto leader. But her global reputation is now in tatters over her failure to condemn the violence against the Rohingya. Human rights groups, activists including her fellow Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have condemned her. She has described the situation in Rhine state as "one of the biggest challenges that we've had to face" but said it "a little unreasonable to expect us to resolve everything in 18 months." But Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said Suu Kyi is a politician after all and everyone forgets expecting a high moral voice from her. He said: “What's the most important objective if you are a politician? Getting elected. I think we need to delete our memories of the imprisoned democratic icon." The UN says 270,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in the last fortnight after fleeing Myanmar, where refugees say their villages have been burned to the ground and relatives killed by the army, reports AFP. Images purportedly showing atrocities against the Rohingya have flooded Bangladeshi social media, triggering an outpouring of sympathy among locals, who have historical ties with the community. Dhaka has protested what it called an “unprecedented influx” of Rohingya since the latest violence erupted on August 25. In the past two weeks, the Bangladesh government has twice summoned the Myanmar envoy to express its concern over the escalation of violence. It says the arrivals represent an “unbearable additional burden” on the poor country, already home to 400,000 Rohingya before the latest influx.