Some of the actions Aung San Suu Kyi has taken as Myanmar’s civilian leader are “regrettable” but her Nobel Peace Prize will not be withdrawn, the head of the Nobel Foundation said.
Speaking days before the awarding of this year’s peace prize on Friday, Lars Heikensten said it made no sense to withdraw awards in reaction to things that happened after they were given, as judges would constantly have to discuss laureates’ merits.
United Nations investigators accused Myanmar’s military in August of carrying out mass killings of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” in an operation that drove more than 700,000 refugees into bordering Bangladesh.
Ms Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for campaigning for democracy and now leads the Myanmar government, was accused in the same report of failing to use her “moral authority” to protect civilians.
“We see what she’s been doing in Myanmar has been questioned a lot and we stand for human rights. That’s one of our core values,” Mr Heikensten said.
“So of course to the extent that she’s responsible for that, that is very regrettable,” he added.
Government spokesman Zaw Htay did not answer phone calls seeking comment on Monday.
Myanmar has rejected the UN findings as “one sided”.
It says the military action, which followed militant attacks on security forces in August last year, was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.
Ms Suu Kyi said last month in hindsight her government could have handled the situation in Rakhine state better, but did not acknowledge any major crimes.
“We don’t believe it would make sense to try to withdraw prizes … it would involve us in constant discussions about the merits about what people are doing afterwards, after they have received the prize,” Mr Heikensten said.
The laureate of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday in Oslo.