The City of London Corporation has been accused of “dragging its feet” over a proposal to remove Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary freedom award in the wake of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Last year the Corporation’s legislative body, the court of common council, passed a motion to investigate whether the honorary freedom awarded to Suu Kyi in May last year could be revoked, as it did not have the necessary process in place.
At a meeting of the common council last week, councillor Munsur Ali said it was “unacceptable” that the freedom applications committee, who granted the Myanmar leader the award, had taken “so long” to implement last year’s motion.
He said the Corporation should follow the inspiration of other councils around the country such as Oxford and Dublin in revoking the award.
“Is it not time we stop dragging our feet and remove the honorary freedom award granted to Aung San Suu Kyi?” he asked.
Ali told City A.M he would table a motion to action the process by which the award could be revoked in January.
“I think it is important that we are on the right side of history,” he said. “In London we celebrate democracy; we represent everyone. Aung San Suu Kyi has a duty to represent everyone.”
Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, has come under fire for her failure to speak out against atrocities committed by the country’s military against the Muslim Rohingya people in Rakhine state, where tens of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have fled.
One source said the Corporation’s reluctance to revoke the award was due to a “slight embarrassment” at being seen to diverge too far from the foreign office.
The source said Suu Kyi should never have been given the award in the first place, adding that at the time awards were being “dished out willy nilly”.
A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “The City of London Corporation condemns the shocking humanitarian abuses carried out in Myanmar.
“Elected members have agreed a process by which an honorary freedom could be removed and we continue to closely monitor the situation in Myanmar.
“The City of London Corporation has already written to the Ambassador for Burma, expressing our profound concern about the current situation in his country and a wish that Aung San Suu Kyi should play a more active role.”