News

Burma Opposition Ends Boycott as UN Chief Addresses Parliament

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, April 30, 2012, in Rangoon.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, April 30, 2012, in Rangoon.

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition National League for Democracy party have ended their week-long boycott of parliament, after accepting oath-of-office language that calls on her party to "safeguard" the constitution.

The Nobel laureate and 42 other NLD colleagues will enter Burma's parliament for the first time Wednesday. They had objected to the words "safeguard the constitution," arguing the language was crafted by a military junta that ruled the country for decades and jailed thousands of democracy activists.

The tactical retreat came Monday, as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Burmese parliament, in a show of support for democratic reforms initiated by the new, nominally-civilian government that took office last year.

"The dramatic changes sweeping Myanmar [Burma] have inspired the world.  And we know that your ambitions for the future reach higher still," Ban said. "I have no doubt that Myanmar will quickly regain its place as a respected and responsible member of the international community."

Burma's President Thein Sein (L) and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands before their meeting.
Burma's President Thein Sein (L) and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands before their meeting.
Ban, speaking in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, hailed what he called the "vision, leadership and courage" of President Thein Sein, whose post-election initiatives include clearing the way for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party's successful run for office April 1.

The U.N. chief also praised the international community for its moves to ease long-standing sanctions imposed on the former military regime, and called for foreign investment.

"I urge the international community to go even further in lifting, suspending or easing trade restrictions and other sanctions," he said. "Second, Myanmar needs a substantial increase in international development assistance as well as foreign direct investment."

Meanwhile, in Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the NLD decision to be seated in the new parliament.  She said she and her NLD colleagues were yielding to "the desires of the people" who elected them, and to those who have voiced disapproval for her party's boycott of the legislative body.

She is set to meet with the U.N. chief Tuesday, ahead of Mr. Ban's scheduled visit to upper Burma's Shan state.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wunna
May 02, 2012 3:39 AM
It would be naive to assume that hardliners only exist in Myanmar arm forces. She take a stand that she later found was not the will of the people previously because she thought it was in the best interest of NLD and people of Myanmar as a whole. People make mistakes. But it takes enormous courage and true democratic spirit to acknowledge a mistake which is not entirely her own it and take necessary action on the world stage solely for the people and the country. Well done Ma'am!

by: May Than Si
May 02, 2012 2:14 AM
Please compromise and work together with the government for better bright future for the myanmar people.Not for your popular point of view.

by: Mango
April 30, 2012 5:10 AM
This is the first time ever of the high ranging global UN secretary of state to be present in Burma which is considered as a country in a critical one and i do hope Mr. Ban will surely help insist this country to be able to have full freedom as soon as possible. Mr. Ban Ki Moon is the hero of the globe.

by: Sam
April 30, 2012 2:14 AM
Did she earlier on forget that it was the people who elected her to represent them? I guess the people were not dumb and knew the correct wording of the constitution before electing her and the other NLD members.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs