Belfast Telegraph

Calls to invite Suu Kyi to Ireland

Calls have been made for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be invited to Dublin after she finally walked to freedom from house arrest.

Hundreds of supporters flooded the streets to celebrate as the human rights activist was released in Rangoon, Burma.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.

Ms Suu Kyi was conferred as a Freeman of Dublin in March 2000 and remains the only Freeman not to sign the roll of honour.

Dublin Councillor Aodhan O Riordain said: "I believe that this situation should now be remedied and that the Department of Foreign Affairs should invite her to Ireland so that she can at last, accept this honour. I will be raising this as an emergency motion at the next meeting of Dublin City Council and I will be proposing that the Council formally invites Ms Suu Kyi to the city."

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said Irish people have had a particular affection for Ms Suu Kyi, who was declared the Amnesty International 'Ambassador of Conscience' at a U2 concert in Croke Park last year.

"Largely in detention since leading her party to victory in the 1990 elections, Aung San Suu Kyi has come to symbolise the desire of the people of Burma for democracy and freedom," said Mr Martin. "Her courage, her quiet dignity and her tireless devotion to her cause have earned her worldwide admiration.

"The way in which she has responded to the repeated infringements of her human and political rights has been exemplary. She has been unflinching in her commitment to non-violence and to the use of exclusively peaceful means to bring about political change."

Burma Action Ireland said Ms Suu Kyi symbolised the hope of Burmese people for freedom, peace and democracy.

Chairperson Keith Donald said "While we very much welcome Aung San Suu Kyi's release, it should not be seen as an indication that the military regime is interested in genuine progress towards reform and democracy. They should release all political prisoners and end the military offensives against the ethnic minorities. The international community must not make the same mistake it made in the past, they must continue to apply pressure to ensure that the military engage in a genuine process leading to national reconciliation and democracy."


From Belfast Telegraph