Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) presented a Statue of Liberty statuette to pro democracy Burmese dissident and 1991 Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, top, on Jan. 13 during an official two-day trip to Myanmar, formerly called Burma.
The day before, above, he had met in Rangoon with families of political prisoners who have been jailed by the country’s military leaders. He called for the prisoners’ unconditional release earlier in the day in meetings with government officials in the capital city of Naypyitaw.
Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest, is leader of the country’s National League for Democracy.
She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 2000 and has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
Crowley is the first member of Congress to visit Myanmar, in more than 12 years, and the first ever to meet with the families of political prisoners, which his office said are estimated at over 1,000 by international human rights organizations.
Crowley has been a leader on Capitol Hill in efforts to promote democracy in Myanmar via sanctions such as those in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which renewed a ban on all imports from the Asian nation.