[Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi speech at University of Oxford in a file photo taken on 20 Jun 2012. ]
Oxford: The Oxford University where Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi studied said on Saturday that it had taken down a portrait of her, a decision that follows widespread criticism of Suu Kyi over the Rohingya genocide and her role in the humanitarian crisis.
The portrait, which was on display in the main entrance of St Hugh's College, has been placed in storage and was replaced on Thursday with a new painting gifted by Japanese artist Yoshihiro Takada.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi studied at St Hugh's, graduating in philosophy, politics, and economics in 1967 before completing a master's degree in politics in 1968, according to media reports.
But in recent months Myanmar’s leader has drawn increasing criticism for her apparent defense of the country’s treatment of its Rohingya minority, who have suffered ethnic cleansing and violent attacks by Myanmar’s military forces.
In a statement, St Hugh’s said: “The college received the gift of a new painting earlier this month which will be exhibited for a period. The picture of Suu Kyi has, meanwhile, been moved to storage.”
St Hugh’s student newsletter, The Swan, said the decision to remove the portrait was taken by the college’s governing body, which includes the college’s fellows and its principal, Dame Elish Angiolini.
Oxford council is to vote next week on stripping Aung San Suu Kyi of the freedom of the city it bestowed on her in 1997 when she was being held as a political prisoner by Myanmar’s military junta.
So far Oxford University has decided not to reconsider Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary degree. But last week the university expressed its “profound concern” over the treatment of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority.
The university said it “hopes the Myanmar administration, led by Oxford alumna Aung San Suu Kyi, can eliminate discrimination and oppression, and demonstrate to the world that Myanmar values the lives of all its citizens.”