Oxford University removes portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi

LONDON (AFP): The Oxford University, where Aung San Suu Kyi studied as an undergraduate, has removed her portrait from public display amid criticism of her handling of the Rohingya crisis.

The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar has seen more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the country, has been criticised for failing to address UN allegations of ethnic cleansing.

The governing body of Oxford’s St Hugh’s college decided to remove the painting of the Nobel laureate from its main entrance, days before the start of the new term. St Hugh’s College said her portrait had been replaced with a Japanese painting.

The portrait, painted by the artist Chen Yanning in 1997, belonged to Suu Kyi’s husband, the Oxford academic Michael Aris. After his death in 1999, the portrait was bequeathed to St Hugh’s, and hung near the college’s main entrance.

In 2012, Suu Kyi was celebrated with an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, where she studied politics, philosophy and economics between 1964 and 1967.

Suu Kyi, who won a Nobel peace prize in 1991, has been Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader since winning elections in 2015. She has been facing growing international pressure to act, after evidence emerged that Myanmar’s military forces were driving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya out of the country.