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Amnesty International Applauds Glasgow City Council

Amnesty International has applauded the decision of Glasgow City Council to make a Freedom of the City award to Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as a welcome and noble gesture, which will send out a clear message to that country’s brutal regime.

The Freedom of the City is awarded by the Council to “persons of distinction or persons who have rendered eminent service to the City”. It is, in effect, a civic honour and represents the highest award that it is in the power of the City to bestow - it confers no rights or privileges of any kind on the recipients.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of the National League for Democracy, which won the great majority of seats in the 1990 election, but which has since been kept out of power by a ruthless military dictatorship. She has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognised as a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.

Aung San Suu Kyi has become a symbol in the struggle against oppression and is still fighting a dignified, non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying, "Please use your liberty to promote ours."

John Watson, Scottish Programme Director for Amnesty International, said:

“Having seen peaceful protests driven off the streets by a brutal military regime, it is clear that pressure from outside is necessary if the appalling human rights situation in Burma is to improve.

This move from Glasgow City Council is to be wholeheartedly welcomed and reminds us of the City’s similar award to Nelson Mandela in 1981. It was 12 years before Mandela was able to come to the City to thank the people of Glasgow for their support. I hope it won’t be so long before we see Aung San Suu Kyi here."

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