News / Asia

Burma’s Suu Kyi Prepares for US Visit

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends a regular session of the parliament in Naypyitaw, August 14, 2012.
Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends a regular session of the parliament in Naypyitaw, August 14, 2012.
Ron Corben
Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is set to embark on a visit to the United States, highlighted by awards and meetings with senior U.S. government leaders and the Burmese community. It comes as Burma's President Thein Sein is also to travel to the U.S.  Human rights concerns are also expected to be on the agenda.

In her first trip to the United States in two decades, Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will be given awards for her long struggle for political reform in Burma and will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi spent the better part of two decades under house arrest for her campaign for political reform in Burma - also known as Myanmar.   Among the awards she is to receive is the Congressional Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress' highest civilian award.
 
The more than two-week trip to the U.S. follows a visit to Europe earlier this year where she formally received her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit marks comes during political reform in Burma under President Thein Sein. After being released from house arrest, the opposition leader was elected to parliament this year, marking a full transition from life as a political prisoner.
 
Debbie Stothard, spokeswoman for rights group, the Alternative Asean Network, says while the U.S. trip is a “celebration”, Aung San Suu Kyi should tell supporters  many issues remain unresolved in Burma.
 
“For many people Aung San Suu Kyi’s trips to Europe and the U.S. this year is as celebration that after two decades of campaigning, that this turning point should be celebrated," she said. "However, Aung San Suu Kyi’s message should also be that there’s still a long way to go, you still have to be careful and not take any positive developments for granted.”

 The U.S. visit coincides with that by Burma's President Thein Sein, who is due to attend the U.N. General Assembly this month. Some analysts say Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit will overshadow the president.

But Sean Turnell, an associate professor at Macquarie University, says the visits will compliment each other.
 
“One of the really good things about Thein Sein -- he’s only to be there for a term - He’s got a view very much on his legacy about setting Burma up in the right way. And in a sense Suu Kyi is a considerable asset to him. Because she’s an extraordinarily popular figure she put’s Burma on the map in ways that nobody else really can,” he said.
 
Turnell says the U.S. is likely to announce a further easing of trade sanctions on Burma.
 
Other analysts say Aung San Suu Kyi may face questioning over her stance on the sensitive issues of inter-ethnic clashes between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Western Rakhine State that have left dozens killed and injured and hundreds of homes destroyed.

Ko Bo Kyi, a spokesman for the Thai-based rights group, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma (AAPP) says Aung San Suu Kyi should draw attention to ongoing human rights issues in Burma.
 
“[Suu Kyi] will be asked questions about what is happening in Arakan (Rakhine) State," he said. "These are important things for Burma. She might be asked what is happening in Kachin State - the civil war in Kachin State. [But] her trip cannot change U.S. policy without changing the ground situation especially without stopping human rights violations all across Burma.”
 
Ko Bo Kyi says there is the need for release of all remaining political prisoners as well as efforts to halt the ongoing conflicts in eastern Burma before further changes in U.S policy should be expected.

Besides the Congressional Gold Medal award, Aung San Suu Kyi will also receive awards from the Asia Society and the Atlantic Council Global Citizen Award.   During her visit she will give public addresses at the University of Louisville,  Kentucky, as well as visiting Yale and  Harvard universities. She will also be meeting with Burmese communities in the United States.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mohamed Toryoke from: USA
September 18, 2012 4:51 PM
We, Rohingyas, are against her and all Buddhist people in Burma. She is nothing to us and some day we will rule Burma and rewrite the Burmese history.

Mohamed Toryoke

by: Pedro from: New York
September 16, 2012 11:33 AM
She will also receive the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in San Francisco on Sept 28: http://humanrightsfoundation.org/media/San-Francisco-Freedom-Forum-28-08-2012.php

by: Mac from: Bangkok
September 16, 2012 10:52 AM
"But Sean Turnell, an associate professor at Macquarie University, says the visits will compliment each other."

The word should be complement, not compliment.

by: maung maung from: USA
September 16, 2012 4:00 AM
We can not avoid question about Rohingya. She had already consulted with her advisers about Rohingya related questions.The recipient of this award should not be thinking politically correct all the time especially when we witness Genocide.Su Kyi is being treated as celebrity and she is enjoying it every moment of it while she ignored the biggest massacre and Genocide in Burma history.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
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 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