TORONTO, Oct. 24, 2017 /CNW/ - Unifor has revoked the union's Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award given to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2000 during her time as a political prisoner.
"Aung San Suu Kyi was the first recipient of this award, bestowed upon a voice for democracy who opposed oppressive military action," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "That same voice now remains silent and complicit during the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar."
Attacks on Rohingya villages have left death and destruction behind, creating a massive humanitarian crisis as more than 500,000 Rohingya have fled the violence. In light of the horrific situation in Myanmar, Unifor has determined that it must revoke the Nelson Mandela Award, the union's greatest humanitarian honour, as a symbol of the union's opposition to Suu Kyi's inaction on the genocide.
In a letter sent to notify Suu Kyi of the decision, the union stated "Silence in the face of mass suffering, a refusal to denounce the actions of the military when confronted with atrocities and an unwillingness to intervene to protect the lives of the Rohingya is not the leadership the world should expect, or accept, from a human rights leader."
The union told Suu Kyi that while the past cannot be undone the future can be remade, and that the world awaits her response. To read the full letter to Aung San Suu Kyi click here.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Unifor Communications Representative, Kathleen O'Keefe at [email protected] or 416-896-3303 (cell).