Support for Friends of Parks

At the Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee on Monday 8th June there was a report on supporting Friends groups in Dundee's parks. My speech to the committee is below.

'This is a good report and it highlights the excellent work done by the Friends Groups which already exist. Dundee can rightly be proud of her parks but we should be clear that they are here for the people of the city -they are the people's parks.

Involving local people in influencing the management of the parks is good for the council. It gives the citizens of Dundee what they want. It also demonstrates public involvement which is important to Beautiful Scotland and to the Green Flag criteria.

I am sure that you will want the city to continue to compete through the Bonnie Dundee group in the Beautiful Scotland and hopefully Britain in Bloom competitions and also that more Friends Groups will help the council achieve more Green Flags for our excellent parks and the Green Flag should be the ambition for all our major parks.

Finally I would want to place on record my appreciation of the efforts of everyone involved in Friends Groups across the city and express the hope that as a result of this policy more can be formed.'

Support for Aung San Suu Kyi

Please see below a press release which was issued today showing Labour's support for Aung San Suu Kyi.

Support for Aung San Suu Kyi

Dundee's Labour representatives have made their support for jailed Burmese democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi clear. Jim McGovern MP, Marlyn Glen MSP and the Labour Group on the City Council are clear in their support for the newest recipient of freedom of the city of Dundee. Jim McGovern spoke in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons and signed an Early Day Motion, Marlyn Glen has supported a motion in the Scottish Parliament and the Labour Group have highlighted the support which Aung San Suu Kyi has in the council chamber.

Jim McGovern MP said, 'I was happy to sign an motion in the House of Commons calling for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released and condemning the charges which she currently faces. I was also happy to highlight the support which she received from Dundee City Council on Monday evening when I spoke in a debate on her plight in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening. I hope that she will be released and that Burma will soon be a democracy.'

Marlyn Glen MSP said, 'Aung San Suu Kyi is a courageous Human Rights hero and democratically-elected leader who has been kept under house arrest by the military dictators of Burma for almost 19 years. I fully support the actions in marking her 64th. birthday as a further measure in the worldwide clamour for her immediate and unconditional release from detention.'

Dundee City Councillor Richard McCready said, 'I was pleased that there was cross-party support for Aung San Suu Kyi in the City Council on Monday evening. I am very grateful for Amnesty International and the Burma Campaign for highlighting the need for action. Giving Aung San Suu Kyi the freedom of the city should not be the end of the city's involvement in her case. We must keep up the efforts to tell the Burmese Government that she should be released and that Burma should become a democracy. After the City Council's meeting on Monday as requested by Amnesty International I contacted Labour's Dundee parliamentarians and I was very happy to find out about the support which they have offered Aung San Suu Kyi.'

Notes to editors

1. Please find below Jim McGovern's contribution to the Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Jim McGovern (Dundee, West) (Lab): I am sure the hon. Gentleman is aware that it is not only Members of Parliament here in Westminster who are gravely concerned about the welfare of Aung San Suu Kyi. Last night my local authority, Dundee city council, with cross-party support, backed a campaign to free this very brave lady. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the current trial is no more than an effort to ensure that she is incarcerated before the elections in Burma that are scheduled to take place?

2. Please find below the Early Day Motion which Jim McGovern MP has signed in the House of Commons

That this House deplores the decision of Burma's regime to move the democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, to Insein prison to face charges relating to an incident involving a US citizen who broke into her compound last week; is dismayed by her unlawful detention under house arrest for 13 of the 19 years since the military junta refused to recognise the 1990 landslide victory of her party, the National League for Democracy; is concerned that this incident could give the military junta a convenient reason to extend her unlawful detention, which was meant to end shortly; is concerned about reports of a deterioration in Ms Suu Kyi's health; calls on the international community to do more to secure the release of political prisoners in Burma and to disregard the results of next year's elections if they are not free and fair; and applauds the European Union for extending its sanctions against the regime, including an arms embargo, a travel ban on Burma’s leaders and a freezing of their assets in Europe.

3. Please find below the motion in the Scottish Parliament supported by Marlyn Glen MSP

64 for Aung San Suu Kyi -
That the Parliament recognises Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s role as an important symbol of hope for democracy in Burma; takes the opportunity of her 64th birthday on 19 June 2009 to commend her for her longstanding bravery and inspirational defence of human rights and democratic freedoms against the country’s repressive military regime, and supports the initiative, involving human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, calling on people to write 64-word messages of support for Aung San Suu Kyi to mark her 64th birthday.


Duncan of Jordanstone Degree Show

On its closing day on Saturday I visited the degree show at Duncan of Jordanstone, the college of art and design at Dundee University. This was held in the Vision Building. It was really excellent to see the talent of many people displayed. This is an excellent event and demonstrates that Dundee is a great centre for art and culture. Well done to everyone concerned.