Decision by students at St Hugh’s, where the leader of Myanmar also studied, is over her response to the Rohingya crisis
Undergraduates at the Oxford college where Aung San Suu Kyi studied have voted to remove the Myanmar leader’s name from the title of their junior common room because of her response to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
In a vote on Thursday evening, students at St Hugh’s college at the University of Oxford resolved to eliminate the name of the 1991 Nobel peace laureate from the Aung San Suu Kyi junior common room with immediate effect.
The motion criticised the “silence and complicity” in her apparent defence of the country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, who have suffered ethnic cleansing and violent attacks by Myanmar’s military forces.
The crisis has led to more than half a million Rohingya being driven out from northern Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The St Hugh’s resolution read: “Aung San Suu Kyi’s inability to condemn the mass murder, gang rape and severe human rights abuses in Rakhine is inexcusable and unacceptable. She has gone against the very principles and ideals she had once righteously promoted.”
In 2012 Aung San Suu Kyi was celebrated with an honorary doctorate from Oxford, and held her 67th birthday party at the college where she studied politics, philosophy and economics between 1964 and 1967.
But in recent months she has attracted increasing criticism for her response to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. In September, the governing body of St Hugh’s decided to remove a painting of her from its main entrance, days before the start of the university term and the arrival of new students.
At the start of October, Oxford city council voted unanimously to strip the Burmese leader of the Freedom of the City of Oxford.
So far Oxford has decided not to reconsider Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary degree. But the university has expressed its “profound concern” over the treatment of the Rohingya minority.
The university said it “hopes the Myanmar administration, led by Oxford alumna Aung San Suu Kyi, can eliminate discrimination and oppression, and demonstrate to the world that Myanmar values the lives of all its citizens”.