Oxford University hall takes down portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi

Photo credit: St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford
Photo credit: St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford

A portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi has been removed from the wall of Oxford University’s St. Hugh’s College, of which the current State Counsellor of Myanmar is a 1967 alumna.

The portrait’s removal earlier today comes a few days before students are scheduled to arrive at the college, according to St. Hugh’s newspaper The Swan. This has raised questions at the college as to whether the removal was a response to Myanmar’s displacement of over 500,000 Rohingyas from the country over the last month.

Myanmar has been accused by the UN of “ethnic cleansing.”

The portrait of Suu Kyi has been replaced at the entrance to the college’s Main Building by a painting by Japanese artist Yoshihiro Takada.

St. Hugh’s College communications manager Benjamin Jones told Coconuts“The College received the gift of a new painting earlier this month, which will be exhibited for a period. The painting of Aung San Suu Kyi has meanwhile been moved to storage.”

He also said the decision to replace the painting was made by the college’s Governing Body.

A series of dishonors

Suu Kyi’s complicity in the Myanmar military’s alleged human rights abuses has prompted activists around the UK to pressure institutions to review the honors they previously bestowed on the former human rights icon.

Unison, the second-largest trade union in the UK, suspended Suu Kyi’s membership and called on her to “respond to international pressure.”

Bristol University is reviewing an honorary degree it gave her in 1998, and the student union at the London School of Economics has promised to strip her of her honorary presidency.

The city of Oxford has indicated that it may strip Suu Kyi of an award it gave her in 1997.

However, the University of Oxford has refused to review the honorary doctorate it gave her in 2012.

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