Canada’s parliament voted unanimously Thursday to pass a motion revoking the honorary Canadian citizenship of Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The motion introduced in the House of Commons by Bloc Quebecois MP Gabriel Ste-Marie reiterated the unanimous support for an earlier motion adopted by the lower chamber of the Canadian parliament to recognize the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar as genocide and to strip Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship in 2007 for her role in fostering democratic change in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
However, her silence and unwillingness or inability to raise her voice to condemn the brutal crackdown by Burmese security forces and Buddhist mobs against the Rohingya Muslim minority resulted in a growing chorus of voices calling on the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to strip her of the honour she shared with the likes of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, the Aga Khan and Malala Yousafzai.
“Our government supported this motion in response to her continued failure to speak out against the genocide of the Rohingya, a crime being committed by the military with which she shares power,” said in a statement to Radio Canada International Adam Austen, the press secretary of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“We will continue to support the Rohingya people through humanitarian assistance, targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and by pushing for accountability for those responsible through an appropriate international body.”
Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, Freeland’s parliamentary secretary, who had introduced the motion last week calling for the recognition of the Rohingya genocide, said the next steps are not immediately clear because there is no precedent for revoking the honorary citizenship that has been granted only on six occasions.
“Keeping in mind this is the will of Parliament, now the machinery of government will actually chew over the details of what specifically is required to implement,” Leslie told CBC News.