Petition to Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee

peace laureate aung san suu kyi

Tell the Nobel Committee: Pressure Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to stop genocide

Even as you read this, Burmese government soldiers are perpetrating a genocide on the Rohingya – a Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, also known as Burma – including horrors sickening even to imagine:

"Survivors said they saw government soldiers stabbing babies, cutting off boys’ heads, gang-raping girls, shooting 40-millimeter grenades into houses, burning entire families to death, and rounding up dozens of unarmed male villagers and summarily executing them."1

Former activist and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is now the most senior non-military leader of Myanmar. But she has refused to use her stature to stop these atrocities, even reportedly referring to genocide as “a quarrel” in a recent visit to the area.2 One U.N. human rights expert calls her silence “baffling.”3

One of the few international bodies that might have influence over Suu Kyi is the Nobel Committee that once awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize – so we need to pressure them to speak up immediately in order to stop the violence.

Tell the Nobel Committee: Pressure Peace laureate to stop genocide.

In one stomach-churning account, a Rohingya woman described how Burmese government soldiers threw her child into a fire, then proceeded to rape her and murder her sisters, brother, and mother.4

The Muslim Rohingya have long been hated in a majority-Buddhist country, with conflict going back decades to the two groups fighting on different sides of World War II. At the end of August, a handful of Rohingya militants mounted an attack and the Burmese army has responded with a systematic campaign of murder that experts describe a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing. More than 288 villages have been burned, and bodies are still washing up on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.6

Yet still, many in Myanmar insist nothing is going on – or it is somehow deserved.6 In the face of such attitudes, Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to loudly condemn the military violence is aiding and abetting horrific crimes.

Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, insists that “If Aung San Suu Kyi were instead to reach out to the people and say, ‘Hey, let’s show some humanity,’ I think people will follow her — she’s adored by the public.”7 Instead, Suu Kyi has supported the army’s stance and told the world that “no one can fully understand the situation of our country the way we do.”8

Tell the Nobel Committee: Pressure Peace laureate to stop genocide.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize for her opposition to the repressive military junta that has ruled Myanmar for far too long. Even after her party swept into office with promises of reform, the military has continued to try to limit her power. Still, as human rights experts note, she has immense popularity and the ability to speak out – and with a Nobel prize in her pocket, she has even greater responsibility to do so.

Unlike Donald Trump, the Nobel Committee has enough moral credibility that it seems possible they might intervene. Despite the committee’s insistence that they are no longer involved once they award a prize, Suu Kyi’s failure to speak out against this violence is tarnishing the Nobel Committee’s reputation in a way that might force them to respond.9 We need to make it clear to the Nobel Committee that they must do everything in their power to publicly pressure Suu Kyi – and help stop these atrocities.

Tell the Nobel Committee: Pressure Peace laureate to stop genocide.

Thank you for speaking out.


1. Jeffrey Gettleman, “Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire,’” The New York Times, Oct. 11, 2017.
2. Oliver Holmes, “Aung San Suu Kyi makes first visit to site of anti-Rohingya violence,” The Guardian, Nov. 2, 2017.
3. Laignee Barron, “A U.N. Rights Expert Is 'Baffled' by Aung San Suu Kyi’s Seeming Indifference to the Rohingya,” Time, Oct. 27, 2017.
4. Gettleman, “Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire.’”
5. Ibid.
6. Hannah Beech, “Across Myanmar, Denial of Ethnic Cleansing and Loathing of Rohingya,” The New York Times, Oct. 24, 2017.
7. Gettleman, “Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire.’”
8. Holmes, “Aung San Suu Kyi makes first visit to site of anti-Rohingya violence.”
9. Russell Goldman, “Why Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Peace Prize Won’t Be Revoked,” The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2017.


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