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U2's Bono to Present Amnesty Award to Myanmar's Suu Kyi

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On June 18 Bono will present Amensty International’s highest honor to Aung San Suu Kyi in Dublin. Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. She is best known as Myanmar’s opposition leader.

She will stopping in Dublin during her first international tour in 24 years. For fifteen of those years she had been under house arrest, off and on, because of her political career. The Burmese government viewed Suu Kyi as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” and used the 1975 State Protection Act as a tool against her. The 1975 State Protection Act grants the government the power to imprison people for up to five years without a trial. Several other laws were used against her over the years and she continued to appeal her detention. She was finally released from house arrest on November 13, 2010 but was afraid to leave Myanmar in case the country’s military junta barred her return.

In 2009 Bono demanded the release of Suu Kyi in a series of U2 concerts. During one of these concerts he announced that Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience Award was to go to Suu Kyi.

Over the years Suu Kyi has been one of the world’s most prominent political figures. During her political career and her years under house arrest she has received the Rafto Prize, the Sakharvo Prize for Freedom of Thought, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, the International Simon Bolivar Prize, and the Wallenberg Medal. She was also made an honorary citizen of Canada in 2007.

Bono said in a prepared statement, “It’s so rare to see grace trump military might, and when it happens, we should make the most joyful noise we can. Aung San Suu Kyi’s grace and courage have tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy. We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person.” The concert will be the first meeting between Bono and Suu Kyi.

The day before meeting Bono, Suu Kyi will be delivering her traditional Nobel lecture at Oslo’s City Hall in Norway, two decades after receiving the peace prize.

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