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Aung San Suu Kyi as “Beacon of Hope" Clinton

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on Thursday called Burma’s imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a “Beacon of Hope”, for people around the world.

Clinton in her speech, at the State Department on eve of Women’s History Month on Thursday, Clinton encouraged women globally to draw inspiration from courageous women, including Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.“Aung San Suu Kyi, whom I mentioned yesterday and I mention as often as I can, because having been in prison now for most of the past two decades, she still remains a beacon of hope, strength and liberty for people around the world,” Clinton said.

On Wednesday, during International Women’s Day celebrations, Clinton expressed solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi and other Burmese women, who are prisoners of conscience.

Clinton said that she expressed her solidarity with “…especially Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house arrest in Burma, for most of the past two decades, but continues to be a beacon of hope and strength to people around the world.”

“Her example has been especially important to other women in Burma, who have been imprisoned for their political beliefs, driven into exile, or subjected to sexual violence by the military,” Clinton added.

Clinton, with successive US governments, has time and again called on Burma’s military junta to release political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and kick-start an all inclusive and meaningful political dialogue.

The United States has also called on the junta to improve human rights conditions in the country, and as punishment for the junta’s failure has imposed strict economic sanctions on Burma.

Political critics pointing out the ineffectiveness of sanctions to induce desired behavioural change in the Burmese Junta, Clinton, during her first trip to Asia,after she took office in January, hinted that the US was reviewing its policy.

Burma’s ruling junta, who are poised with plans for a general election slated for 2010, said it was steadily implementing a seven-step roadmap to democracy.

Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in the 1990 general elections, has so far made no comment on their participation in the upcoming general elections, which is the fifth step of the junta roadmap.

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