Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., spoke today by telephone with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the prominent Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Prize winner.
According to a Department of Foreign Affairs press release today:
The Minister took the opportunity to welcome Daw Suu Kyi’s release after her many years of arbitrary detention by the Burmese regime and assured her of the importance both Ireland and the European Union attach to her continued freedom and personal safety. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her gratitude for the continued support of the Irish people.
Minister Martin and Daw Suu Kyi had a full discussion of recent events including the extremely flawed Parliamentary elections which took place in November this year, the challenges facing the Burmese people in their struggle for democracy and human rights, and the humanitarian relief efforts following the damage caused by Cyclone Giri in October.
Minister Martin praised Daw Suu Kyi’s peaceful campaign for democratic reform in Burma and reaffirmed the commitment and support of Ireland for the struggle of pro-democracy and human rights groups inside Burma, who face daily harassment, intimidation and persecution.
The Minister underlined the need for the release of all political prisoners as the first step in a process of political dialogue involving all groups in Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi founded the National League for Democracy in 1988 and became its General Secretary. In 1990 the Burmese military junta held Parliamentary elections in Burma. The National League for Democracy won the majority of Parliamentary Seats being contested and Aung San Suu Kyi would have become Prime Minister. However, the military refused to hand over power and nullified the results. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest and has spent nearly 15 years under house arrest since 1989.
She has been awarded a number of international prizes for her work on democratic reform in Burma including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She was awarded the freedom of Dublin City in March 2000.