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Why Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize Won’t Be Revoked

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HONG KONG — Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who once embodied her country’s fight for democracy, came under increased pressure on Monday to denounce a military operation that has caused thousands of Muslim refugees to flee across the border to Bangladesh.

As protests erupted across the region and a fellow peace prize laureate took to Twitter to confront Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, some wondered whether the Nobel Committee, which conferred the honor on her in 1991, would publicly criticize her or could even revoke the prize.

Demonstrations against the targeting of the Rohingya ethnic group, a persecuted Muslim minority, took place on Monday outside Australia’s Parliament in Canberra. In Jakarta, Indonesia, protesters burned photos of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and lobbed a gasoline bomb at the Myanmar Embassy.

“The world remains silent in the face of the massacre of Rohingya Muslims,” Farida, an Indonesian who organized the protest and uses only one name, told reporters.
The latest violence in Myanmar began last month when Rohingya militants attacked Myanmar military positions, in what they said was an effort to prevent further persecution by the country’s security forces.

The military responded with what it has called “clearance operations.” According to human rights groups, soldiers razed hundreds of Rohingya homes in Rakhine State. As a result, thousands of Rohingya have made the treacherous journey to squalid refugee camps across the border.

Their plight has drawn increased attention — and renewed criticism — from many people around the world, including other Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

“Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment,” Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Muslim and the youngest recipient of the award, said in a Twitter post on Monday. “I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same. The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting.”

Last year, several Nobel laureates — including Ms. Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu and 11 other recipients — signed an open letter that “warned of the potential for genocide.”

Both the open letter and Ms. Yousafzai’s Twitter post were met online by critics of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who blamed her for the crisis and called for her prize to be revoked.
Those appeals are particularly poignant given Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s history as a political prisoner. She spent 15 years under house arrest after winning a presidential election in 1988, which the ruling junta at the time refused to honor. Under a constitutional power-sharing agreement, she was appointed state counselor after her party, the National League for Democracy, won in a landslide election in 2015. Still, under the law, she cannot become president and the military effectively controls many of the state’s levers of power.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been conspicuously silent on the Rohingya issue, and when pressed by reporters, she has toed the military’s official line, which contends that the Rohingya are illegally squatting inside Myanmar.

“No, it’s not ethnic cleansing,” she said in a rare interview on the subject in 2013.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is not the first Nobel laureate to stir controversy. In the past, activists have called on the committee to revoke the awards of Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama. In 1994, one member of the Nobel Committee resigned in protest when the award was shared among the Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, and the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The committee member, Kaare Kristiansen, called Mr. Arafat a “terrorist” who did not deserve the prize.

The Nobel Committee, all Norwegian citizens appointed by the country’s Parliament, has never rescinded a prize and will not in Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s case either, said Gunnar Stalsett, a former committee member.

“A peace prize has never been revoked and the committee does not issue condemnations or censure laureates,” said Mr. Stalsett, a former politician and bishop who was a deputy member of the committee in 1991, when Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi received her award.

“The principle we follow is the decision is not a declaration of a saint,” Mr. Stalsett said. “When the decision has been made and the award has been given, that ends the responsibility of the committee.”

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Minnesota

Rep. Ellison, Rep. Emmer, and Colleagues Introduce Resolution Condemning Terror Attack in Mogadishu

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WASHINGTON — On the one-month anniversary of the October 14th terror attack on Mogadishu, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), along with Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Karen Bass (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced House Resolution 620, which condemns the attack, expresses sympathy for its victims and their families, and reaffirms U.S. support for Somalia.

The October 14th terror attack killed more than 350 people, including three American citizens, and injured another 200—making it the single deadliest in Somalia’s history.

“It’s been a month since the terrible and cowardly attack on Mogadishu, and my heart still breaks for the people of Somalia and their families and friends here in the United States,” Ellison said. “The people of Somalia have shown incredible resilience— coming together not only as part of an inspiring effort to recover from this attack, but also to rebuild their nation in the spirit of peace and prosperity. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to express solidarity with the people of Somalia by strongly condemning the senseless violence, extending our condolences to all those affected by the attack, and reaffirming continued U.S. support for Somalia.”

“Just over a month ago, Mogadishu experienced a horrific and tragic terrorist attack,” said Emmer. “This attack hit close to home with three of our fellow Americans – including one Minnesotan – among the more than 350 men, women and children who lost their lives far too soon. I stand with my colleagues and the Somali community to condemn last month’s attack. I am proud to work with my colleagues to offer condolences and lend support as Somalia works to rebuild itself and its communities in the wake of this recent tragedy. Today, and every day, we stand against terror and join together to rid this world of evil.”
The full text of the resolution reads as follows:

“Strongly condemning the terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017, and expressing condolences and sympathies to the victims of the attack and their families.

Whereas on October 14, 2017, a truck bomb filled with military grade and homemade explosives detonated at a busy intersection in the center of Mogadishu, Somalia, and took the lives of more than 350 people and injured more than 200 additional people;

Whereas at least three Americans, Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, Mohamoud Elmi, and Abukar Dahie, were killed in the attack;

Whereas the Somali Government believes that Al-Shabaab was responsible for the attack, although no official claims of responsibility have yet been made;

Whereas Al-Shabaab has previously avoided claiming responsibility for Al Shabaab operations when it believes the operation may significantly damage its public image among Somalis;

Whereas the Department of State condemned ‘‘in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds in Mogadishu on October 14’’;

Whereas the Department of State stated that ‘‘the United States will continue to stand with the Somali government, its people, and our international allies to combat terrorism and support their efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity’’;

Whereas according to the Department of State’s Country Report on Terrorism for 2016, Al-Shabaab is the most potent threat to regional stability in East Africa;

Whereas the United States continues to support counterterrorism efforts in coordination with the Government of Somalia, international partners, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mainly through capacity building programs, advise and assist missions, and intelligence support;

Whereas Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of national mourning in response to the attack;

Whereas the vibrant, bustling district of Mogadishu where the attack occurred is characteristic of the city’s revitalization, and the solidarity and efforts by the city’s residents to rebuild already are a testament to their resilience; and

Whereas Somalia has been a strong partner to the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017;

(2) expresses its heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies for the victims of the attack and their families;

(3) honors the memories of Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, Mohamoud Elmi, and Abukar Dahie, who were murdered in the horrific terrorist attack;

(4) recognizes the significant efforts to combat terrorism by the Government of Somalia, the countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, and United States forces in Somalia;

(5) reaffirms United States support for the Government of Somalia’s efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity and combat terrorism in Somalia; and

(6) renews the solidarity of the people and Government of the United States with the people and Government of Somalia.”

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Canada

Somali youth project update (Project TooSoo)

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CBC —  For the past year, a group of young Somalis in Toronto has been learning how to re-claim the stories told about their community.

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Sports

Looking back on my Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace | Mo Farah

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I recently had the honour of being knighted by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace. When I came to the UK from Somalia aged 8, not speaking any English, who would have thought that my running would eventually lead me here? This was another very special gold medal for me and I am so honoured to have received it. Here’s a little glimpse of how the day went for me.

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