OTTAWA – Canada has granted honorary citizenship to Aung San Suu Kyi, the legendary crusader for democratic reform in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Suu Kyi’s first cousin Sein Win accepted the honour Monday on her behalf as the coastal nation in Southeast Asia reels from a deadly cyclone.
It’s feared that up to 10,000 people died in the devastating storm, and thousands of people desperately need clean drinking water, food and shelter.
Win thanked Canada for the tribute on Parliament Hill and for a $2-million donation to help cyclone survivors.
Win says a referendum on Myanmar’s newly drafted constitution, slated for Saturday, should be delayed until the crisis has passed.
He also called on other democratic countries to follow Canada’s lead and impose sanctions on the military rulers who have held power since 1962.
Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, won the last democratic elections in 1990 but were never allowed to take power.
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has spent all but six of the past 18 years in detention in Myanmar.
She is the fourth person to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship. The others are former South African president Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who was honoured posthumously for his efforts to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.