Irish musician and anti-poverty activist Bob Geldof returned his “Freedom of the City of Dublin” award to his hometown Monday, saying he cannot hold an honor also given to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I am a very proud Dubliner but cannot in all conscience continue to be one of the honored few to have received this great tribute whilst Aung San Suu Kyi remains amongst that number,” Geldof said in a statement.
“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 North West Burma.”
Geldof is best known for organizing the 1985 “Live Aid” concert – reported to have been the biggest concert in the world, boasting multiple locations, and raising more than $104 million to combat hunger in Ethiopia.
Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel laureate – has come under fire internationally for failing to address what the U.N. has described as ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority Rohingya. More than half a million Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar.
Fellow Nobel laureates, including the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, have also spoken out and called on her to say something to condemn the violence.
Aung San Suu Kyi initially maintained there had been “a huge iceberg of misinformation” about the plight of the Rohingya. She recently visited conflict-wracked northern Rakhine state, having come under pressure to halt a military crackdown. The operations were launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.