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June 19, 2011

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi to Speak to US Congress Via Video

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver remarks to members of the U.S. Congress on recorded video Wednesday, during which she will discuss her country's elections last year.

Representative Don Manzullo, a Republican from IIlinois, announced the plan for the recorded testimony on Monday.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Wednesday will hold a hearing on Burma's election, the first in 20 years. Manzullo is the subcommittee chair.

Many critics of Burma's government say the election was a sham that solidified military rule. The military, however, says the election was part of a transition to full civilian rule after five decades.

Dr. Chris Beyrer, Epidemiologist and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights, will speak at the same hearing that hears the recorded testimony of Aung San Suu Kyi. He tell's VOA's Ira Mellman his center has been monitoring the impact of Burma's policies on the well being of its people.

Manzullo, a long-time advocate of political reform in Burma, said he is excited to share Aung San Suu Kyi's video so that the world can hear about the military's "offensives against ethnic groups" and the poor human rights record in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the election held in 1990, but was never allowed to take office. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent most of the years since then in detention. Human rights groups say Burma's government continues to hold more than 2,000 political prisoners.