Rohingya crisis: Oxford college removes portrait of Myanmar's Suu Kyi
Amid the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, the Oxford University college where the country's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi studied has taken down her portrait from public display. St Hugh's College removed the painting from its main-entrance ahead of the new university term and moved it to storage. The move follows international criticism over Suu Kyi's role in the humanitarian crisis. Know more!
Suu Kyi's portrait belonged to her husband and Oxford academic, Michael Aris. The painting was bequeathed to St Hugh's College after Aris's death in 1999. It was hung near the main entrance of the college on North Oxford's St Margaret's Road.
Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University in 2012. She studied politics, philosophy, and economics at St Hugh's College between 1964 and 1967. However, she is now being criticized for defending Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya minority. The UN described the violence by the country's military forces against the Rohingyas as "ethnic cleansing".
The Rohingya militants' deadly attacks in August provoked retaliation by the security forces in Myanmar. The army-led fightback in the country has left scores dead while it was estimated that at least 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into the neighboring Bangladesh.
St Hugh's stated it received a new painting as a gift from Japanese artist Yoshihiro Takada, which will be exhibited at the main entrance. The decision to remove Suu Kyi's portrait was taken by the college's governing body, including its principal Dame Elish Angiolini and its fellows. It didn't comment on whether the move was linked to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine.
The Campaign's director, Mark Farmaner, said: "If they have taken down the portrait because of Aung San Suu Kyi defending the Burmese military as they commit ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya they should say so and write to her urging her to respect human rights."
Oxford council would vote on stripping "freedom of the city" awarded to Suu Kyi in 1997 when she was a political prisoner held by Myanmar's military junta. She won the 1991 Nobel peace prize ironically for her non-violent struggle for human-rights and democracy. She was barred from the presidency-run in Myanmar's 2015 election. However, she won a decisive victory and became the State Counsellor.
Expressing concern over the treatment of Muslim ethnic minority, Rohingya, Oxford 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."