Congressman Crowley Speaks By Phone with Aung San Suu Kyi

December 7, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), a long-time advocate for human rights in Burma and author of the resolution to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal, issued the following statement after his conversation with Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democratic leader who was recently freed from her 15 year imprisonment. During their conversation, Crowley expressed his support for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, as well as genuine national reconciliation.

“This morning, I spoke with Burma’s legitimate democratic leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. I expressed my utmost respect and admiration for her courage and dignity throughout the 15 years she was wrongfully imprisoned. She is an inspiration to me and many of my colleagues in Congress, and I look forward to the day when we can present her with the Congressional Gold Medal.

“Our conversation served as a reminder of the many struggles faced by the Burmese people. Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom is a step in the right direction, but there is still much more to be done. The military junta must end its brutal campaign against its own people, enact human rights reforms and free the rest of Burma’s legitimate leaders from prison.

“The global community must also be vigilant in ensuring the safety of Aung San Suu Kyi. When she was last released in 2002, she was nearly assassinated by the country’s military regime and eventually recommitted to house arrest. Her freedom must be maintained; as it is the first real step toward reform in Burma.”

Congressman Crowley is a six-term member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and a member of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.  He has a long track-record of advocating for human rights in Burma, most recently initiating the effort to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal and spearheading the passage of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act.