OTTAWA — Myanmar leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi became the first person to be stripped of honorary Canadian citizenship on Tuesday over her refusal to call out atrocities by her nation’s military against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The move was made official after Canada’s Senate voted to revoke the symbolic honor. The lower house had already approved a motion to the same effect last week.
The House of Commons granted the privilege to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007, but her international reputation has since been tarnished by her refusal to call on the Myanmar army to put an end to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya.
Canadian lawmakers described the violence against them as a “genocide” in a resolution passed in September. The ethnic group are treated as foreigners in Myanmar, a country that is more than 90 percent Buddhist.
A brutal military campaign that started last year, following attacks on police outposts, drove more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh, where they now live in cramped refugee camps — fearful of returning despite a repatriation deal. Many have given accounts of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arson.
Canada has granted honorary citizenship only to five other personalities, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Malala Yousafzai.