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Bob Geldof to return Freedom of Dublin in Aung San Suu Kyi protest

Bob Geldof and Jeanne Marine attend the 'Electric Burma' concert for Aung San Suu Kyi at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on June 18, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland (Image: PA)

By Press Association

Bob Geldof is to hand back his Freedom of the City of Dublin, saying he does not want to be associated with the award while it is also held by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Live Aid founder and musician blasted the Burmese Nobel peace laureate, who has faced widespread criticism over her country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority.

In a statement he said: “Her association with our city shames us all and we should have no truck with it, even by default. We honoured her, now she appals and shames us.

Mr Geldof said he would hand back the freedom at City Hall in the Irish capital on Monday morning.

Irish-born Mr Geldof, who received an honorary knighthood from the Queen for his charity work, said he was a “proud Dubliner” but could not continue to hold the freedom while Ms Suu Kyi also held it.

He added: “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.

“I am a founding patron of The Aegis Trust, who are concerned with genocide prevention and studies. Its founders built and maintain the National Holocaust Museum of the UK.

“I spoke at the inaugural National Holocaust Memorial Day at Westminster and in my time, I have walked amongst peoples who were sectionally targeted with ethnic cleansing.

“I would be a hypocrite now were I to share honours with one who has become at best an accomplice to murder, complicit in ethnic cleansing and a handmaiden to genocide.”

More than 600,000 of the minority group have fled the northern Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh since August, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

It is not the first time Mr Geldof has spoken out against Ms Suu Kyi. Last month at a summit in Colombia he described her as “one of the great ethnic cleansers of our planet”.

In his Sunday statement Mr Geldof added: “The moment she is stripped of her Dublin Freedom perhaps the council would see fit to restore to me that which I take such pride in. If not, so be it.”

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