AUNG San Suu Kyi must speak out against ethnic cleansing in Myanmar or face being stripped of the Freedom of Oxford.

In an unprecedented move, Oxford councillors are planning to vote on taking the title away from the country's de facto leader after about 400,000 of the country's Rohingya Muslim minority were displaced.

The United Nations has urged the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to take action and said the crisis now amounts to ethnic cleansing.

The Freedom of Oxford has been awarded to just 36 people or groups.

Oxford city councillors elect to give it to those judged to be people of distinction or people who have given outstanding service to the city.

Council executive board member John Tanner said a motion will need to be moved at next month’s council meeting to officially remove the title if the crisis continues.

He said: “We have written to her to urge her speak out and to stop this ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

"If nothing changes, I think it is very likely that the city council will be stripping her of the freedom of the city.

“It’s something that we very much regret but clearly the reasons for giving her support have now changed.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, 72, has close links to Oxford.

She studied philosophy, politics and economics at St Hugh's College from 1964 to 1967 and lived in Park Town with her children and husband, academic Michael Aris.

He worked at St John's and St Antony's colleges and died in the city in 1999.

Ms Suu Kyi was held under house arrest in the Myanmar capital Rangoon between 1989 and 2010 after fighting for an end to military dictatorship in the country, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners.

On her last visit to Oxford in June 2012, on her 67th birthday, she was welcomed by the Chancellor of Oxford University, Chris Patten, and well-wishers burst into a rendition of 'Happy Birthday'.

She was presented with an honorary degree from the university and accepted the freedom of the city that the council had voted to bestow on her in 1997.

But in the past few weeks she has come under pressure from the UN and from Western governments after the Myanmar military began operations against Rohingya Muslims, which the minority community claims includes killings and villages being torched.

In a televised address to her country yesterday, Aung San Suu Kyi said: "There have been allegations and counter-allegations.

"We have to listen to all of them.

"We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.”

To officially strip someone of the freedom of the city, at least two-thirds of councillors present at a meeting must vote to remove the title.

Other celebrated people who have been given the honour include Nelson Mandela, who was awarded it in June 1997, and Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter.

Next month’s council meeting is scheduled for October 2.