Suu Kyi to get rock star welcome in Dublin

by Ruth Holmes, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 17 2012 11:14 AM | Updated as of Jun 18 2012 04:34 PM

LONDON - Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is set to make the next stop on her European tour on Monday in Dublin where she will receive a rock star's welcome from Irish singer and global rights campaigner Bono.

The democracy icon has already visited Switzerland and Norway -- where on Saturday she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1991 -- and is scheduled to travel on to London and Paris.

It is Suu Kyi's first time in Europe for 24 years, having spent much of the last two decades under house arrest.

Her 17-day trip has been clouded, however, by fears over her health, after she was sick at a news conference in Bern, Switzerland on Thursday and was forced to cancel engagements that night owing to exhaustion.

Meanwhile, in her home country, violence continues to shake western Myanmar where dozens of people have been killed and more than 30,000 people displaced by clashes between Buddhist Rakhines and stateless Muslim Rohingya.

On Monday human rights group Amnesty International will host a concert in Suu Kyi's honour at a 2,000-seater theatre in the Irish capital, where Bono is due to present her with the charity's Ambassador of Conscience Award.

The Irish musician and longstanding human rights campaigner, who is also due to sing at the event, first named Suu Kyi for the accolade during his band U2's 2009 concert at Dublin's Croke Park stadium.

At that time she was confined to her home in Yangon.

Other Irish acts including singer Damien Rice and traditional dance troupe Riverdance will be joined by artists from around the world for the "Electric Burma" concert.

The line-up features Benin singer and activist Angelique Kidjo and US rapper Lupe Fiasco, while British campaigner Bob Geldof and actress Vanessa Redgrave will also be making an appearance.

After the concert around 5,000 people are expected to attend a public event to sing "happy birthday" to Suu Kyi, who turns 67 the following day. She will also be given the honour of Freedom of the City of Dublin.

Suu Kyi for her part plans to address the crowd who will gather outside Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

Suu Kyi, who leads Myanmar's National League for Democracy Party, will then on Tuesday visit Britain.

Her itinerary begins with two days in the city of Oxford, where she lived for several years and will receive an honorary degree from the prestigious Oxford University on Wednesday.

She also is due to have a "family reunion" at an undisclosed location to mark her birthday on Tuesday.

On Thursday Suu Kyi is due to address parliament in London in a rare honour for a foreign dignitary, as well as meeting Prime Minister David Cameron and other public figures.

An emotional Suu Kyi delivered her Nobel lecture at Oslo City Hall on Saturday more than two decades after receiving the peace prize awarded to her in 1991 for her "non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights".

She was unable to accept it at the time, fearing that the regime would bar her from returning to her country.

Earlier in her trip she was greeted by a rapturous standing ovation in the Swiss parliament in Bern after she fell ill and had to cancel a dinner with the country's president.

She told reporters after the first leg of her tour that she was "totally exhausted" from travelling.

© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse