The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum announced today that it has rescinded the Elie Wiesel Award which it presented to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012. Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, issued the following statement in response:
“We applaud the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on its principled decision to rescind its first ever Elie Wiesel Award from Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Burma (Myanmar). She has forfeited her right to be honored in the name of the Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and human rights advocate, as well as in the memory of those murdered during the Holocaust and other genocides and atrocities in world history. We share the museum’s deep disappointment in Suu Kyi’s unwillingness to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the Burmese military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people, who have suffered for decades at the hands of Burmese authorities and are now facing a concerted campaign of rape, pillage, murder and displacement.
“As the leading Jewish organization advancing human rights in Burma and other developing countries, we are leading a united Jewish campaign to pressure Burma to stop the attacks and ensure the human rights of the Rohingya people. We are sending direct aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, supporting Rohingya human rights advocates worldwide and supporting legislation in the U.S. Congress to hold the Burmese military accountable for its crimes. We call on the United States government to act boldly and clearly on behalf of the Rohingya people who find themselves on the precipice of destruction.
# # #
About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS promotes civil and political rights, advances sexual health and rights, defends land, water and climate justice and aids communities in the aftermath of disasters. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and by advocating for U.S. and international policies for justice and equality worldwide. Learn more at www.ajws.org.
About American Jewish World Service’s work in Burma
For more than 15 years, AJWS has supported the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Rohingya people. AJWS provides direct financial support to more than 30 human rights organizations in Burma that have been working to advance the rights of minority ethnic groups and to create a truly pluralistic and democratic society. Please read more about our work in Burma here.
If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Madeline Cohen at email@example.com during AJWS office hours from 9 am to 5 pm eastern time, Monday through Thursday. If you are on an urgent deadline on a Friday, over a weekend or during evening hours, please write Stuart Schear at firstname.lastname@example.org.