News / Asia

Suu Kyi Makes Historic Address to British Parliament

Aung San Suu Kyi Addresses British Parliamenti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
June 21, 2012 8:34 PM
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
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 7:45 PM
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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid