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US Lawmakers Pass Resolution Honoring Aung San Suu Kyi - 2001-11-15

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a non-binding resolution, 420-0, congratulating Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the tenth anniversary of her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The resolution calls on the Burmese government to restore human rights.

Members of the House heeded the call of Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey to support the resolution, which he co-sponsored. "I urge unanimous vote in favor of this important resolution, which makes clear the continued strong support of Congress for freedom and democracy in Burma, and for the struggle of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and the National League for Democracy to assert the fundamental rights of the Burmese people," he said.

The resolution which does not have the force of law calls on the Burmese government to recognize the results of the 1990 general elections, in which the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory.

The resolution calls on Burma to release political prisoners, end heroin production and the practice of human trafficking.

The measure also looks forward to the day when Aung San Suu Kyi can address a joint session of the U.S. Congress as the leader of a free and democratic Burma.

The Senate has not acted on the measure.

Another co-sponsor of the House resolution, Congressman Tom Lantos a Democrat from California, noted that Aung San Suu Kyi recently began talks with the Burmese government, and he expressed hope for their success.

Toward that end, he has introduced legislation that would prohibit Burmese imports into the United States until President Bush certifies that Burma has made progress toward democracy and restoring human rights.

"We must keep the pressure on that dictatorial regime until democracy prevails in Burma," he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi was released from six years of house arrest in 1995, but the military government continues to restrict her activities and harass and imprison her supporters.