A hero of mine, says Barack Obama

Global leaders and fellow Nobel laureates on Saturday welcomed the release of Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, hoping that it will pave the way for restoration of real democracy in the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama, his predecessor Bill Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and as many as six women Peace Laureates celebrated the release of Ms. Suu Kyi.

Mr. Obama, who is on the last leg of his 10-day tour of four Asian countries, called Ms. Suu Kyi “a hero of mine”. He said the popular pro-democracy leader was a source of inspiration for all who worked to advance basic human rights in and around the world.

“The United States welcomes her long overdue release,” Mr. Obama said in a statement soon after her release.'

“Whether Aung San Suu Kyi is living in the prison of her house, or the prison of her country, does not change the fact that she, and the political opposition she represents, has been systematically silenced, incarcerated, and deprived of any opportunity to engage in political processes that could change Burma [Myanmar],” he said.

Asking the Myanmar regime to release all political prisoners, “not just one”, Mr. Obama said the U.S. looked forward to the day when all of Myanmar's people were free from fear and persecution.

The former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, said he was thrilled by the news of her release.

Celebrating the freedom for Nobel laureate, Mr. Clinton hopped that “this signals a new direction for life within the country and for the country's relations with others beyond their borders.”

At the U.N. headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expresses his heartfelt best wishes to Ms. Suu Kyi. “Her dignity and courage in the face of injustice have been an inspiration to many people around the world, including the Secretary-General, who has long advocated her freedom,” the U.N. said in a statement.

Mr. Ban hoped that no further restrictions will be placed on her, as he asked the Myanmar authorities “to build on today's action by releasing all remaining political prisoners”.

Even as the former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, welcomed the release of Ms. Suu Kyi, he asked India and China to encourage dialogue between junta and various Myanmarese ethnic groups.

“Burma's neighbours, especially China and India, have a great deal of interest in stability in the region and I hope they will also try to encourage dialogue between the government and ethnic groups,” he said in a statement.


Aung San Suu Kyi walks freeNovember 13, 2010

Suu Kyi calls for talks with junta leaderNovember 14, 2010

More In: International | News