MP calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of Dundee

Dundee West MP Chris Law.

Dundee West MP Chris Law has said it is time for Myanmar leader Aun San Suu Kyi to be stripped of the freedom of the city over her country’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

Mr Law and other members of the International Development Committee were due to travel to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to investigate claims of human rights abuses against the minority Rohingya population.

But the Myanmar authorities have denied the MPs visas to visit the country, prompting Mr Law to call on Dundee City Council to strip Ms Suu Kyi of the Freedom of the City she was awarded in 2008 following the years of persecution she suffered as a leader in Myanmar’s democracy movement.

Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borthwick has already written to Ms Suu Kyi urging her to stop or, at the very least, condemn the violence being perpetrated by the Myanmar military.

Mr Law, the SNP’s spokesman for international development, was to visit Myanmar as part of the committee’s inquiry into the Department of International Development spending in South-East Asia.

Planned meetings with government and military officials in Myanmar, including Suu Kyi herself, have had to be cancelled.

It has been claimed by committee chairman Stephen Twigg MP that Suu Kyi had a personal hand in the blocking of visas.

The Committee were also set to visit Rakhine Province and the Magway Region, areas who benefit from over £100 million in DFID spending in Myanmar, but also the scenes of suspected human rights abuses against the local Rohingya Muslim population.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been State Counsellor, similar to a Prime Minister, of Myanmar since 2016.

She spent 15 years under house arrest following a military takeover and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Mr Law said: “It is my belief that this is a purely political decision by the Embassy of Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi to protect her government from what we would uncover in the region.

“As someone who previously deeply respected her, this is particularly disappointing.

“With a heavy heart, I will be writing to Dundee City Council to make them aware of this denial, and urge them to strip her of the freedom of the city.

“It is now clear that she is unwilling to help the Rohingya people and is now actively seeking to prevent others from providing help.”

Suu Kyi can only be stripped of the Freedom of Dundee if a majority of councillors agree to the move.

It would be the first time anyone was granted the honour only to subsequently see it removed.