Belfast Telegraph

Suu Kyi may visit Ireland in June

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could visit Ireland next month to receive a prestigious human rights honour.

Campaigners have confirmed they are finalising plans for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to travel to Dublin in June where she will be given Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award.

Plans are also afoot to stage a benefit concert or public event in her honour in Dublin city centre should she visit. Insiders said one venue being considered for the event is the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in the Dublin docklands.

While the guest list is yet to be confirmed, it is understood Bono is likely to attend. The U2 frontman is a long-standing supporter of Ms Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the last two decades under house arrest due to her opposition to Burma's military junta.

In 2009, the band dedicated an entire musical set at a concert in Croke Park to the 66-year-old and Bono gathered crowds of her supporters on stage wearing masks of her face.

Ms Suu Kyi is due to travel to Norway and the UK in mid-June, but organisers are trying to arrange a one-day visit to Ireland during her stay. This will be her first trip out of the Asian state in 24 years.

She was sworn into parliament in Burma at the start of May, along with 42 of her National League for Democracy (NLD) colleagues. The party won 43 of 44 seats they contested in by-elections in April. While the NLD will remain a small minority, its presence alongside the military-backed government is considered symbolic.

The opposition leader follows in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and Mary Robinson in receiving Amnesty's Ambassador of Conscience award.

Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey confirmed arrangements are being made to facilitate the trip. "(We wish) to confirm that planning for such a visit is currently under way, including a very special event to mark the occasion," said Mr Shipsey. "Further details of the visit will be announced in due course."

Ms Suu Kyi was awarded the Freedom of Dublin City in 2000.

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