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Irish musician and founder of Live Aid, Bob Geldof, said he will hand back the Freedom of the City of Dublin, because he objects to sharing the award with Burma’s controversial leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Her [Suu Kyi’s] association with our city shames us all and we should have no truck with it, even by default. We honoured her, now she appalls and shames us,” he said.
Geldof said he would return the award to Dublin’s City Hall on Monday [today].
He added: “In short, I do not wish to be associated in any way with an individual currently engaged in the mass ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people of northwest Burma.”
The former Boomtown Rats’ front man echoed the sentiments of fellow Irish rockers U2, who released a statement on 11 November calling on Suu Kyi to “stand strong” against the violence committed by Burmese security forces targeting Rohingya civilians.
The Burmese government, led by Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has rejected accusations of crimes against humanity directed at the Rohingya minority, and says it is conducting security operations to cleanse the region of terrorists.
Meanwhile, on Monday, in a statement to mark the 97th anniversary of Burma’s National Day, the NLD said it was “fighting to crush terrorism without negotiation” and to protect the dignity and sovereignty of the nation.
In today’s statement, the ruling party also urged the general public to be aware of extreme nationalism, which it said “could become a trap”.