City Corporation votes to suspend Honorary Freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi

Elected Members of the City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council at Guildhall have today voted to suspend the Honorary Freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s State Counsellor.

The Honorary Freedom was awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi in May 2017, in recognition of her ‘non-violent struggle over many years for democracy and her steadfast dedication to create a society where people can live in peace, security and freedom’.

Sir David Wootton, who chairs the Freedom Applications Committee, said that the City Corporation condemned the humanitarian abuses carried out in Burma, and that the suspension, which is unprecedented in the City Corporation’s history, reflects its unhappiness with events in Burma and the position of the Civilian Government.

Sir David, who recommended suspension of her award, told the Court that the City Corporation had attempted to communicate with Aung San Suu Kyi on three separate occasions, but had received no response.

Sir David Wootton said:

“The City of London Corporation has today sent a clear message that the violence in Burma and the oppression of that country’s minority Rohingya population cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

“The Freedom Applications Committee will now inform Aung San Suu Kyi of the Court’s decision.”

Elected Member for Portsoken Ward, Munsur Ali, who tabled the original motion about Aung San Suu Kyi’s Honorary Freedom, said:

“The effects of the atrocities upon the Rohingya community are more visible than ever, as the world hears of their sufferings and struggle to go back home.

“This is totally unacceptable, especially in this day and age, and the Rohingya community desperately await justice, but who would come to their aid?”

The Honorary Freedom is the highest award that the City of London Corporation can bestow upon an individual. Previous recipients include Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, William Pitt the Elder, and in more recent times, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Professor Stephen Hawking.


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Notes for Editors:

Following a motion passed by the Court of Common Council at Guildhall in January 2019, the City Corporation’s Freedom Applications Committee resolved to inform Aung San Suu Kyi about the proposal to begin the process by which her Honorary Freedom could be revoked, and inviting her to respond. More info here

The Freedom Applications Committee wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi in February, March and August 2019. Elected members have expressed doubt over whether the letters (which were sent to the Embassy of Myanmar in London and subsequently taken to Yangon and posted there) had been personally received by Aung San Suu Kyi.

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