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Cablegate: Canada Makes Aung San Suu Kyi an Honorary Citizen

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DE RUEHOT #1932 2911857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181857Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6730
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0335
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1255

UNCLAS OTTAWA 001932

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL BM CA
SUBJECT: CANADA MAKES AUNG SAN SUU KYI AN HONORARY CITIZEN


1. (U) On October 17, the Parliament of Canada unanimously adopted a
motion from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to make Aung San Suu Kyi
an honorary Canadian citizen "as a demonstration of Canada's support
for the people of Burma in their struggle against the brutal
military dictatorship that rules their country." The government had
announced its intention to seek this honor in its "Speech from the
Throne" to open the new parliamentary session on October 16.

2. (U) The text of the motion is as follows:
"That, Whereas Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma's National
League for Democracy, has been recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize
as one of the world's leading champions of peace, democracy and
non-violence;
Whereas she has been repeatedly deprived of her liberty and contact
with her family since July 1989 as retribution for her support for
the cause of freedom, democracy, human rights and justice for the
people of Burma;
Whereas she led the National League for Democracy to victory in
multi-party democratic elections in 1990, the results of which were
ignored by the military regime;
Whereas she remains one of the leading forces in the continuing
struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma and a symbol of the
desire of the people of Burma for political freedom;
Whereas recent events show that her desire for democracy and peace
is deeply shared by the people of that country;
Whereas her long struggle to bring freedom and democracy to the
people of Burma has made her the embodiment of these ideals and an
inspiration to all of us;
Whereas Canada has previously acknowledged the contribution of other
leading champions of human dignity, granting them honorary Canadian
citizenship;
Therefore, this House resolves to bestow the title "Honorary
Canadian Citizen" on Aung San Suu Kyi and requests that the people
of Canada demonstrate their friendship and solidarity with Aung San
Suu Kyi as an honorary citizen of Canada and, through her, to the
people of Burma."

3. (U) Referring to public protests in support of the Burmese
people in cities across Canada in recent weeks, PM Harper said that
Canadians "want us to act and we must." He expressed hope that the
motion would send the clear signal that Canada stands for universal
values that are under siege today in Burma, and also send a message
to Aung San Suu Kyi that Canadians, and all civilized people of the
world, "stand behind her in her quest for democracy and freedom."

4. (U) Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier separately issued a statement
saluting Aung San Suu Kyi, in which he asserted that Canada stands
alongside those who share values of freedom, democracy, human rights
and the rule of law. He stated that the parliamentary motion
"reinforces our consistent calls to the government of Burma, through
the United Nations and other means, to release all political
prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to respect the human rights
and fundamental freedoms of the people of Burma, and to engage in a
genuine dialogue with the democratic opposition." He confirmed
Canada's strong support for the visits of the UN Special Envoy to
Burma and the region, and called on the government of Burma to
facilitate the Envoy's work.
WILKINS

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