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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2614

Aung San Suu Kyi made honorary member of the Club of Madrid

United Nations, 25 November, (Asiantribune.com): The Club of Madrid has announced the incorporation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s devoted human rights leader and most noted prisoner of conscience, as Honorary Member. Ms. Suu Kyi joins four other Honorary Members —Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations; Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States; Jacques Delors, Former President of the European Commission; and Honorary Co-Chair of the Club of Madrid and Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton— and 70 other former Presidents and Prime Ministers who are committed to advancing 'democracy that delivers' as active members of the Club of Madrid.

She becomes the fourth Nobel Peace Prize winner to be incorporated into the Club of Madrid after Annan, Carter, and Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.

Often referred to as the female Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi has inspired millions across the world as an advocate of nonviolent resistance in the face of brutal repression by the military junta that runs her native Burma.

Spending 13 of the last 18 years in prison or house arrest for her pro-democracy activism, Suu Kyi has come to represent the more than 1,850 known political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in her country. She is the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

In its press release, the Club of Madrid says that while under house arrest, Suu Kyi has become a beacon of hope and inspiration to those seeking a peaceful, democratic Burma. Suu Kyi led her political party —the National League for Democracy (NLD)— to win 82 percent of the seats in Parliament in the country’s last democratic election held in 1990. Despite the electoral victory, the military Junta of Burma annulled the results and kept Suu Kyi and the NLD from taking power.

"Were it not for this illegitimate action, this courageous advocate of human rights and democracy likely would have been the first Burmese democratic prime minister in decades," said Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile and President of the Club of Madrid. "By making her an Honorary Member of the Club of Madrid, we are sending a strong signal to the Junta that the world does not—and will not—forget her."

Membership in the Club of Madrid is offered by invitation to democratic former presidents and prime ministers worldwide.

Honorary Members – usually also former heads of state or government – are appointed in recognition of their contribution and support of the ideals for which the Club of Madrid stands. The composition of the Members of the organization reflects a balance between those from consolidated democracies and those from transitional democracies. Selection also aims to achieve the broadest possible geographical, political, cultural and gender balance.

"Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed to the global community to take up the cause of her country, asking us to use our liberty to promote her people’s freedom," said Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway and Member of the Board of Directors of the Club of Madrid. "We again call upon the Burmese regime to immediately and unconditionally release her and the close to 2000 political prisoners it holds as a first step toward Burma’s reintegration into the world community."

- Asian Tribune -

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