Standing up for Canberra

Aung San Suu Kyi 2010

I was delighted to hear on Saturday night that Aung San Suu Kyi appears to have been unconditionally released after spending 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest in Burma. I urge the Burmese regime to uphold her unconditional release. I would be deeply concerned if her future freedom of speech, movement or association is restricted as it has been in the past.

I welcome Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment to dialogue and reconciliation in Burma. I hope that a conciliatory approach will inspire legitimate democracy in that country. Her release is an opportunity for Burmese authorities to engage with her and her party, the National League for Democracy. I also call on the Burmese regime to immediately and unconditionally release the more than 2,100 political prisoners held in Burma.

As members of this House would know, Aung San Suu Kyi is a remarkable woman. She is an icon of democracy in our region and her resilience is inspiring. She won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. She used her $1.3 million prize to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people. Her sacrifices as a mother, grandmother and wife highlight her unwavering will and commitment to her country and democracy.

Download a copy of this speech.