Corporation to suspend Aung San Suu Kyi Honorary Freedom

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi being escorted out of the Old Library at the end of the Honorary Freedom ceremony by Sir Alan Yarrow and Sheriff of London Peter Estlin. Photo: credit: Clive Totman

The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council has 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 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.