ABC/AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi odered not to use term "Burma"

Aung San Suu Kyi odered not to use term "Burma" (click to view article)

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is home, to face a controversy over whether to call her country Burma or Myanmar.

Hundreds of cheering supporters welcomed her after a five-nation European tour.

On her first visit to Europe in more than two decades, Ms Suu Kyi visited Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Britain and France.

Previously she had spent nearly 20 years under house arrest.

She delivered a Nobel lecture, was honoured at Oxford University, met pop stars and politicians and delivered speeches on her hopes for Burma.

The South-East Asian nation's old regime changed the official name 20 years ago to Myanmar, saying the term Burma was a legacy of British colonialism.

Opposed new title

Ms Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party vigorously opposed the change.

The Burmese election commission released a statement after Ms Suu Kyi's recent landmark visits to Thailand and Europe, when she repeatedly referred to her country as Burma.

"As it is prescribed in the constitution that 'The state shall be known as The Republic of the Union of Myanmar', no one has the right to call (the country) Burma," it said in a statement.

The document was published in the state-run The New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called Myanmar 'Burma' in her speech to the World Economic Forum in Thailand on 1 June, 2012," the statement noted.

Many world leaders, particularly in the west, still insist on using the term Burma.

The issue also forms a dilemma for them, as the Burmese government, lead by President Thein Sein, has instituted a series of democratic reforms and the country emerges from decades of military rule.

The moves has seen many western nations ease crippling sanctions against Burma and members of its current government, made up of several former members of the military.