Honourary degree for Suu Kyi

July 8, 2009 (DVB), Burma's imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was yesterday awarded an honourary doctorate by a British university for her services to human rights.

While Suu Kyi remains on trial over charges of breaching her house arrest conditions, Northern Ireland's University of Ulster paid tribute to the National League for Democracy leader, who has been in detention for 13 of the last 19 years.

Collecting the award for Suu Kyi, the chairperson of Rakhaing [Arakan] Women's Union donned the obligatory graduation gown and spoke on her behalf.

"I said in my speech that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, at the same time I'm receiving this award, is in prison but she is standing strong and continuing her struggle for her belief," said Saw Mra Raza Linn.

"She is a fearless woman who doesn't hold grudge against her enemies. She is a woman hero engaging in a fight for her country and the people."

The date for Suu Kyi's next court hearing was last week adjourned to 10 July, with judges claiming that the relevant papers for the hearing had not yet arrived at the courtroom.

The original date for the last hearing would have clashed with the first of a two-day visit last week by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was twice denied a meeting with Suu Kyi.

Recipients of honourary degrees need not have any affiliation with the awarding university.

The degree is used as a marker to distinguish important contributions to various fields, both academic and non-academic.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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