OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invited the icon of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement to Canada to personally accept her honorary citizenship.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, was freed from house arrest in the military-controlled country, also known as Burma, in November.
“We recognize that Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate priority since her release from house arrest is to focus her energies on consultations and dialogue within Burma, before embarking on international travel,” said Harper.
“We hope, however, that she will be able at the appropriate time to accept our invitation.”
Suu Kyi was made an honorary Canadian citizen in 2007, and a cousin accepted on her behalf.
Suu Kyi has been detained for 15 of the last 21 years since her opposition party swept Myanmar’s elections.
The military junta’s proxy party also claimed victory in last month’s elections, the first held since Suu Kyi’s party won the vote.
Suu Kyi has refused to leave the country during other periods of freedom, fearful she will not be allowed back.
In December, she released a statement thanking the people of Canada for their support during her long incarceration. She also thanked Canada for taking in nearly 4,000 Burmese refugees since 2007.
“Canada is one of those countries which has a special place in my heart because it is very far away from Burma and yet consistently the people and the Government of Canada have shown great concern for our struggle for democracy,” she said in the statement, posted on the Canadian Friends of Burma website.