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Burmese dissidents are ‘Irish of the East’

Published 31/12/2010

The world's most prominent political dissident joked yesterday how her people had been referred to as “the Irish of the East”.

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin on the telephone when she told of how the British had sometimes called the Burmese the “Irish of the East”.

The Northern Ireland peace process was discussed in the context of Ms Suu Kyi telling the minister about the challenges facing the Burmese people in their struggle for democracy and human rights.

Ms Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy, was detained for 15 of the past 21 years before her release from house arrest in November.

In March 2000, Ms Suu Kyi received the Freedom of Dublin City.

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