A former Myanmar ambassador has called on the city council not to revoke the Freedom of the City award from Aung San Suu Kyi.

Brighton and Hove City Council will consider whether to strip the honour from the diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former leader over the treatment of the Muslim Rohingya community while she was in power.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the prestigious title in 2011 for her record on human rights.

However, after becoming the leader of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in 2016, she was criticised for her silence about the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya people by the country’s military.

Kyaw Zwar Minn, who served as ambassador of Myanmar to the UK, has called on Brighton and Hove to reconsider the move.

He had previously called for the release of Aung Sann Suu Kyi after she was arrested following a coup in 2021.

Mr Minn said: “Considering revoking the award from Aung San Suu Kyi, a democratically elected leader of Burma, is an unpleasant moment.

“If the council revokes the honorary award, that action would demoralise her historic nobleness, fire up the junta and, of course, the opposite direction for the people of Burma.”

The Argus: Kyaw Zwar MinnKyaw Zwar Minn (Image: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

In a report being presented to councillors today, it is claimed that Aung San Suu Kyi “did not take any steps or advocate the protection of the minority Muslim Rohingya community and some say she supported the actions of the military in carrying out the atrocities”.

Other cities, including Oxford, Edinburgh and Dublin, have revoked similar awards from the former leader in recent years.

A council spokesman said: “After coming to power, Aung San Suu Kyi enabled the ongoing systematic denial and failure to address the long-standing targeted abuse against the Muslim Rohingya community in her country.

“We believe the actions of Aung San Suu Kyi fundamentally contradict the values of our city and our ongoing commitment to equality and human rights.”

Councillors will discuss the proposal at a special council meeting this afternoon.