News / Asia

Suu Kyi Makes Historic Address to British Parliament

Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses British Parliamenti
|| 0:00:00
X
June 21, 2012
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked for practical help in completing Burma’s journey towards democracy during a high-profile visit to London’s Westminster Hall. Suu Kyi lived under house arrest for most of the past two decades, but was released in 2010. Military rule ended in Burma last year and reforms have begun to take effect. As Selah Hennessy reports for VOA from London, the Nobel laureate addressed both houses of Parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses British Parliament

TEXT SIZE - +
Selah Hennessy
LONDON -- Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked for practical help in completing Burma’s journey towards democracy, during a high-profile visit to London’s Westminster Hall.  The Nobel laureate addressed both houses of Britain's parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi said Burma must grasp the opportunity it has for democracy. “It is an opportunity for which we have waited many decades," she said. "If we do not use this opportunity, if we do not get things right this time round, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again.”

The Nobel laureate spoke at Westminster Hall, the 11th century venue typically reserved for heads of state.  But it was a fitting setting for a woman widely respected in Europe as a human rights icon.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi and British Prime Minister David Cameron walk in the Rose Garden at the Prime Minister's country residence Chequers, near Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, England, June 22, 2012.
  • Burma's opposition leader makes an address to a joint session of both Houses of Parliament, in Westminster Hall, in London, June 21, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall in the gardens of Clarence House, in London, 21 June 2012
  • Aung San Suu Kyi greets British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in London, June 21, 2012.
  • Burmese opposition leader leaves through The Great Gate after receiving her honorary degree at Oxford University, in Oxford southern England, June 20, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, meets with people at a reception in Oxford, England, June 19, 2012.
  • Burma's political leader is given a picture of her father for her birthday at The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, June, 19, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi accepts the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty (L) and singer Bono (R), Dublin, Ireland, June 18, 2012.
  • From left, Aung San Suu Kyi, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Irish singer and activist Bono address the media after attending a conference of the Oslo Forum, Norway, June 18, 2012.
  • Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (L) meets Naw Star Ri during a meeting with the Burmese community in Bergen, Norway, June 17, 2012.
  • Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, left, welcomes Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the Foreign Ministry for a meeting in Oslo, June 17, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi signs a book at the Nobel Institute after a meeting with the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, June 16, 2012.
  • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to a large audience outside Oslo's City Hall, Norway, June 16, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, holds her speech during the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, June 16, 2012. She formally accepts the prize that thrust her into the global limelight two decades ago.
  • Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is greeted by Norwegian King Harald and Norway's Queen Sonja (L-R) at the Royal Castle in Oslo, June 16, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi attends a news conference with Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in central Oslo, June 15, 2012.
  • Burma's pro-democracy leader signs autographs outside the Swiss Parliament in Bern, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
  • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during the last day of the 101st session of the International Labor Conference of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.

She told the audience of about 2,000 people that Burma is still fragile, but said she hopes it is at the start of a journey towards a better future.  

Aung San Suu Kyi commended the reforms taking place under President Thein Sein, but said "without strong institutions, the process will not be sustainable."
...if we do not get things right this time round, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again.


She called on Britain to consider what it can do to help build the institutions needed to support the country's parliamentary democracy.

In a sign that the bonds between Britain and Burma are deepening, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Burma’s president, Thein Sein, has also been invited to visit Britain.

During a joint news conference with Suu Kyi, Cameron warned of the challenges ahead.

“Just as it was wrong to give in to despair when things were going badly," said the British prime minister. "So I think you are absolutely right to warn now against reckless optimism that a happier era may be in prospect.  We will remain vigorous and rigorous in our questioning until we have made those changes irreversible.”

Military rule ended in Burma last year and reforms have begun to take effect.  Suu Kyi lived under house arrest for most of the past two decades, but was released in 2010.  Her trip to Europe highlights how her popularity has grown in the intervening years.

In Switzerland she addressed the International Labor Organization; in Norway she officially accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 1991; and in Ireland a concert was held in her honor.

In a television interview, the democracy leader said the reception is a sign of "how much the world wants Burma to change in the right direction." She also said she does not view her new position as a perilous one.

"I think of it as a challenge. It's a challenge not just to me and my party, but it's a challenge to the government as well, and of course to the people in general, because they must play their part," said Suu Kyi.

Burmese activist Maung Zarni told VOA that Aung San Suu Kyi’s popularity in Europe is good for democracy in Burma.

“She is very conscious of the fact that she has received this overwhelming support and welcome in Europe and around the world, but she is using that to call attention to the pervasive human-rights and other problems in the country.”

With the ear of European politicians, Aung San Suu Kyi says she hopes to gain their support in building Burma’s future.

Watch the full address:

Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses British Parliamenti
|| 0:00:00
X
June 21, 2012
Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi made a historic addresses to Britain's parliament, following an earlier meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yaza from: Indianapolis, Indiana, US
June 23, 2012 6:11 PM
She should be the next Secetary General of the United Nations.


by: Anonymous
June 21, 2012 7:16 PM
"Law and oder" is Burma and every body need.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid