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Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "The Removal of the Freedom of the City Awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi" - Given by Councillor Julie Dore, and to be Seconded by Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed

That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes that the Freedom of the City is the highest honour that the City of Sheffield can bestow, and is symbolic of the esteem that the city holds that person, or persons, in, and has been given out just 11 times to foreign dignitaries;

 

(b)       notes that at a special meeting of the Council held on 05 October 2005, it was agreed to confer the Honorary Freedom of the City of Sheffield on “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, in recognition of her personal courage and relentless pursuit of democratic justice in that Country and her commitment to secure democracy and human rights by non-violent means.”;

 

(c)        believes that at that time Aung San Suu Kyi was an outstanding choice to be awarded the Freedom of the City for her tireless work for democracy and human rights and that, in the words of Sheffield’s then Lord Mayor, she was an “international symbol of peace”;

 

(d)       notes that by awarding Aung San Suu Kyi, Sheffield was rewarding someone whose ideals match our own and who was believed to be an outstanding advocate of peace and democracy; the award also sought to raise awareness of the situation in Myanmar and to celebrate Burmese culture;

 

(e)       notes that Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party won a landslide victory in Myanmar elections in 2015 – taking 86% of the seats in the Assembly of the Union; and with this it was hoped that the historic persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims would be ended;

 

(f)        expresses profound sadness at the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and notes that Aung San Suu Kyi was criticised for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots and during the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis;

 

(g)       notes that since August 2017, over 500,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority have fled across the border to Bangladesh since militant Rohingya attacks led to a violent and brutal crackdown by the country’s military in what the UN have deemed a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’;

 

(h)       believes that whilst the military’s actions will have been carried out without any direct command from Aung San Suu Kyi, she has failed to condemn the military’s actions and has shown wilful ignorance as to this crisis;

 

(i)         further believes that Aung San Suu Kyi has a duty to the Rohingya and, as a renowned champion of democracy and human rights, she must do all she can to end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies into Rakhine state; and

 

(j)         believes that the Rohingya have suffered for too long and it is regrettable that Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to respond to widespread international pleas to address the situation or even condemn the actions of the military, meaning that it is no longer appropriate for Aung San Suu Kyi to hold Freedom of the City and, as a result, the Freedom of the City of Sheffield be removed from Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

 

Minutes:

3.1

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: On the Motion of Councillor Julie Dore, seconded by Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)        notes that the Freedom of the City is the highest honour that the City of Sheffield can bestow, and is symbolic of the esteem that the city holds that person, or persons, in, and has been given out just 11 times to foreign dignitaries;

 

 

 

(b)        notes that at a special meeting of the Council held on 05 October 2005, it was agreed to confer the Honorary Freedom of the City of Sheffield on “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, in recognition of her personal courage and relentless pursuit of democratic justice in that Country and her commitment to secure democracy and human rights by non-violent means.”;

 

 

 

(c)        believes that at that time Aung San Suu Kyi was an outstanding choice to be awarded the Freedom of the City for her tireless work for democracy and human rights and that, in the words of Sheffield’s then Lord Mayor, she was an “international symbol of peace”;

 

 

 

(d)        notes that by awarding Aung San Suu Kyi, Sheffield was rewarding someone whose ideals match our own and who was believed to be an outstanding advocate of peace and democracy; the award also sought to raise awareness of the situation in Myanmar and to celebrate Burmese culture;

 

 

 

(e)        notes that Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party won a landslide victory in Myanmar elections in 2015 – taking 86% of the seats in the Assembly of the Union; and with this it was hoped that the historic persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims would be ended;

 

 

 

(f)         expresses profound sadness at the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and notes that Aung San Suu Kyi was criticised for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots and during the 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis;

 

 

 

(g)        notes that since August 2017, over 500,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority have fled across the border to Bangladesh since militant Rohingya attacks led to a violent and brutal crackdown by the country’s military in what the UN have deemed a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’;

 

 

 

(h)       believes that whilst the military’s actions will have been carried out without any direct command from Aung San Suu Kyi, she has failed to condemn the military’s actions and has shown wilful ignorance as to this crisis;

 

 

 

(i)         further believes that Aung San Suu Kyi has a duty to the Rohingya and, as a renowned champion of democracy and human rights, she must do all she can to end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies into Rakhine state; and

 

 

 

(j)         believes that the Rohingya have suffered for too long and it is regrettable that Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to respond to widespread international pleas to address the situation or even condemn the actions of the military, meaning that it is no longer appropriate for Aung San Suu Kyi to hold Freedom of the City and, as a result, the Freedom of the City of Sheffield be removed from Aung San Suu Kyi.