Yangoon: Global leaders
and fellow Nobel laureates on Saturday welcomed the release of
Burmese democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest,
hoping that it will pave the way for restoration of real
democracy in the country.
A smiling Suu Kyi, wearing a traditional jacket and a flower in her hair, appeared at the gate of her compound as the crowd chanted, cheered and sang the national anthem.
Her release was immediately welcomed by world leaders and human rights organizations.
World leaders applauded her release, expressed relief and urged the military junta in the former Burma to free more of its estimated 2,100 political prisoners.
Here’s what the world leaders said on pro-democracy’s iconic leader:
US President, Barack Obama, who is on the last leg of his 10-day tour of
four Asian democratic countries, called Suu Kyi "a hero of
mine". He said that the popular pro-democracy leader is a
source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human
rights in and around the world.
The United States welcomes her long overdue release,
Obama said in a statement soon after her release.`
"Whether Aung San Suu Kyi is living in the prison of
her house, or the prison of her country, does not change the
fact that she, and the political opposition she represents,
has been systematically silenced, incarcerated, and deprived
of any opportunity to engage in political processes that could
change Burma," he said.
The release from house arrest of one of the world`s
most prominent political prisoners came a week after an
election that was swept by the military`s proxy political
party and decried by Western nations as a sham designed to
perpetuate authoritarian control.
Asking the Burmese regime to release all political
prisoners, "not just one, Obama said the US looks forward to
the day when all of Burma’s people are free from fear and
"Following Aung San Suu Kyi’s powerful example, we
recommit ourselves to remaining steadfast advocates of freedom
and human rights for the Burmese people and accountability
for those who continue to oppress them, Obama said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said her freedom at the end of her latest period of house arrest was long overdue. "Freedom is Aung San Suu Kyi`s right. The Burmese regime must now uphold it," he said.
"Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration for all of us who believe in freedom of speech, democracy and human rights," he said in a statement.
India welcomed the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hoped that this step will be the beginning of an inclusive reconciliation in Myanmar.
"I understand that the Government of Myanmar has just released Madame Aung San Suu Kyi. The government of India welcomes her release," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said.
"As a close neighbour of Myanmar, we are confident that the release of Suu Kyi will contribute to efforts for a more inclusive approach to political change," Krishna said.
India also broke its silence on last week`s elections in Myanmar. "The recent elections in Myanmar are an important step in the direction of the national reconciliation process being undertaken by the government of Myanmar," said Krishna.
"We have always encouraged them to take this process forward in a broad-based and inclusive manner," he said.
Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari welcomed the release of democracy leader Aung
San Suu Kyi by Myanmar`s military junta.
In a message, Zardari said the release of the long
detained leader will help usher in a new era of democracy and
fundamental freedoms in Myanmar.
The sacrifices of Suu Kyi will remain etched on the
minds of all those who believe in democracy and human rights,
Her release will strengthen democracy in the region
and in other countries of the world, Zardari said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Obama and others in calling on Myanmar`s rulers to free all political prisoners.
"Aung San Suu Kyi is a symbol for the global fight for the realization of human rights. Her non-violence and relentnessness have turned her into an admired role model," the German government said in a statement.
European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso said, "It is now crucial that Aung San Suu Kyi has unrestricted freedom of movement and speech and can participate fully in her country`s political process."
Former US President Bill Clinton said he is thrilled by
the news of her release.
Celebrating the freedom for Nobel laureate, Clinton
hopped that "this signals a new direction for life within the
country and for the country`s relations with others beyond
"In light of recent elections, I also hope that Aung
San Suu Kyi`s release will lead to the rapid inclusion of her
and the Burmese citizens in governance," he said in a
Ban Ki-moon expresses his heartfelt best wishes to Suu Kyi.
"Her dignity and courage in the face of injustice have
been an inspiration to many people around the world, including
the Secretary-General, who has long advocated her freedom, he
said in a statement.
"Notwithstanding the welcome news of her release, it
is deeply regrettable that Daw Aung Suu Kyi was effectively
excluded from participating in the recent elections," he said.
The UN Secretary-General hoped that no further
restrictions will be placed on her, as he asked the Myanmar
authorities "to build on today’s action by releasing all
remaining political prisoners."
He said democracy and national reconciliation require
that all citizens are free to participate as they wish in the
political life of their country.
Welcoming the release, women Nobel laureates hoped
they will soon have the opportunity to meet with her in
"For years she has been unjustly confined to her home
and denied the opportunity to see her family and friends, to
participate in politics and to live in freedom, they said
in a statement.
The pro-democracy leader`s defiance gained her fame
and honour, most notably the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
Despite the efforts of the military regime in Burma
to deny the people of Burma the leadership of Aung San Suu
Kyi, her strength, vision and faith continued to guide them in
their ongoing struggle for rights and democracy," the Women
Nobel Peace Laureates said in a statement.
The last elections in 1990 were won overwhelmingly by
Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy party, but the
military refused to hand over power and instead clamped down
Suu Kyi was convicted last year for breaching the
terms of her previous detention by briefly sheltering an
American who swam uninvited to her lakeside home, extending a
period of continuous detention that began in 2003.
Even as former US President, Jimmy Carter welcomed the
release of Suu Kyi, he asked India and China to encourage
dialogue between junta and various Burmese ethnic groups.
"Burma’s neighbours, especially China and India, have
a great deal of interest in stability in the region and I hope
they will also try to encourage dialogue between the
government and ethnic groups, he said in a statement after
the military leaders released the Burmese democratic icon from
He said it is sad to see a country of such great
natural wealth that is so fractured and unable to properly
protect and care for its people in a way that allows all of
them to prosper.
Carter, who is a member of The Elders group of senior
world statesmen led by Nelson Mandela of South Africa, said
the humanitarian situation across the entire country is dire
and deserves much more attention from donor countries.
"The Elders call on donors to take more active and
imaginative approaches to addressing Myanmar’s urgent health,
education and food needs," he said.
Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, said Suu Kyi`s
release offers hope to the people of Burma, who face uncertain
times following the 7 November elections.
"She is a global symbol of moral courage and we wish
her strength and health as she makes her own transition from
such a long period under house arrest," he said.
The Elders asked the government to respect Suu Kyi’s
political rights as a citizen and not place any conditions on
her release. They also called for the release of all the
country’s political prisoners.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Suu
Kyi`s release proves that no injustice can last forever, and
while the country`s junta can continue its policy of
repression it has never been able to wholly silence her voice.
"Her release from house arrest where she has spent
fifteen of the last twenty one years is only a partial
victory, because her liberation and that of the Burmese people
will not be complete until she is able to take up her position
as the rightful leader of her country,? Brown said in a
Top American Senator John Kerry said the world will
watch closely to see whether the Burma`s new leaders begin the
journey toward genuine democracy, peace, and respect for
fundamental human rights, or whether they remain mired in the
failed policies of the past.
"A shift toward more inclusive, responsive, and
democratic governance will allow the long-suffering people of
Burma to better their lives, and over time, will create
opportunities for the government to improve relations with the
United States and begin to repair its much-tarnished
international reputation," Kerry said.
(With agencies inputs)