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  1. ITV Report

Rohingya crisis: Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Freedom of Oxford

Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford. Credit: AP

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford in the wake of state violence against Rohingya Muslims.

Oxford City Council voted unanimously to remove the honour which Ms Suu Kyi has held since 1997.

The 72-year-old, who graduated from Oxford University in 1968, has failed to condemn violence against hundreds of thousands of minority Rohingya in the Burmese state of Rakhine.

An estimated 620,000 men, women and children have now escaped to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The council said that Ms Suu Kyi had "tarnished" its image by "turning a blind eye" to violence.

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A statement on Monday said that on first receiving the Freedom Ms Suu Kyi had represented Oxford's "values of tolerance of nationalism".

But she and the Burmese government had described thousands of accounts of murder, rape and torture as exaggerated.

The statement read: "Today we have taken the unprecedented step of stripping her of the city's highest honour because of her inaction in the face of oppression of the minority Rohingya population.

"The burning of their villages has been independently confirmed by satellite images, and the UN has called the situation 'a textbook example of genocide' - yet Aung San Suu Kyi has denied any ethnic cleansing and dismissed numerous claims of sexual violence against Rohingya women as 'fake rape'.

"Oxford has a long tradition of being a diverse and humane city, and our reputation is tarnished by honouring those who turn a blind eye to violence."

Two weeks ago Sir Bob Geldof returned his Freedom of the City of Dublin in protest at it also being held by Ms Suu Kyi.