Free Aung San Suu Kyi

Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:15 pm
Are we sure that's a recent photo? She doesn't look 65.
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:17 pm
From a report in today's Guardian (UK).

Strong suggestions that Aung San Suu Kyi supports the loosening of international sanctions against Burma.
Arguing at the same time that "true progress (toward democracy) cannot be made" until the more than two thousand political prisoners still being held by the junta are freed ... :

...She has hinted, too, that she may be willing to soften her stance in favour of international sanctions against Burma's military junta, but insisted that true progress could not be made until all of the country's 2,100 political prisoners were freed. .....

Today, speaking publicly for the first time since her release on Saturday, Aung San Suu Kyi told supporters she needed their support to transform the country. "I think we all have to work together. I wish to work in unison with the people of Burma," she said. She stressed she alone could not lead the country to democracy after 50 years of military rule.

"I don't believe in one person's influence and authority to move a country forward," she said. "One person alone cannot do something as important as bringing democracy to a country." ..................

.........Aung San Suu Kyi said she had a message for the regime's senior general, Than Shwe: "Let's speak to each other directly." She added: "I am for national reconciliation. I am for dialogue." The pair last met in secret talks in 2002 at the encouragement of the United Nations, just months before the junta arrested her again.

There has been no word from Burma's jungle capital, Nay Pi Daw, on whether the regime's leaders wish to meet her, and there are doubts over the junta's commitment to reform.

Dr Maung Zarni, a Burma research fellow at the London School of Economics, said the junta had released political prisoners before, usually to win favour internationally, but had rearrested them when it felt the need to reassert control. "We should not fool ourselves to think that her release signals the desire on the part of the regime towards democratisation, dialogue and reconciliation," Zarni said.

"Her release is simply a tactical move. The regime is still holding over 2,100 prisoners of conscience … many serving ridiculously lengthy prison sentences. They must all be freed if we are to be convinced of the regime's desire towards reconciliation." ........

..............Others cautiously believe the junta's move could mark the beginning of genuine reform. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean), which counts Burma as a member but which the west has accused of not doing enough to push for change there, welcomed the release. "I'm very, very relieved and hope that this will contribute to true national reconciliation," said the secretary-general, Surin Pitsuwan.

Aung San Suu Kyi also met a corps of diplomats today, including representatives from Britain, the European Union and Asean countries.

Later, during a wide-ranging press conference, Aung San Suu Kyi said that while during her years of imprisonment she "felt free within myself", she would not rest until all of Burma's political prisoners were released unconditionally. "If my people are not free, how can you say I am free?" she said. "We are none of us free."

Aung San Suu Kyi has been a strong supporter of trade sanctions, which have isolated Burma for more than a decade, but appeared to indicate a willingness to reconsider. "This is a time for Burma when we need help," she said. "We need everybody to help in this venture. Western nations, eastern nations, all nations." ......

0 Replies
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:18 pm
Are we sure that's a recent photo? She doesn't look 65.

I keep thinking the same thing, hinge. Smile
But apparently it is!
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:19 pm
Maybe house arrest is very relaxing?
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:22 pm
Perhaps not a form of relaxation one would necessarily choose, though? Wink
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Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:23 pm
VIDEO: Aung San Suu Kyi wants to engage with military junta
Source: ABC News
Published: Monday, November 15, 2010 7:04 AEDT
Expires: Sunday, February 13, 2011 7:04 AEDT

The ABC's Zoe Daniel speaks to freed Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi about challenges facing the nation.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 09:33 pm
Are we sure that's a recent photo? She doesn't look 65.

Obviously excellent genes, too! Smile
A collection of photographs from her private life, from the Guardian. (see link below)
This first one's from her 1970 passport:


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Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 05:51 pm
BBC interview with Aung San Suu Kyi (link below).
What now in the Burmese people's struggle for freedom?
And what will her part in that struggle be? :

VIDEO: Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to John Simpson

Until Saturday, Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi was arguably the world's most famous prisoner.

Now she is free. And in the sweltering heat in the headquarters of her party, the National League for Democracy - which according to the military government in Burma no longer exists - she gave the BBC her first face-to-face television interview for seven years.

The years of imprisonment have not changed her. She remains as cool and articulate and outspoken as ever. ...<cont>

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Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 06:19 pm
I saw several recent photos in the WSJ. One looked twenty years younger than the other, and both seemed presented as current.

Who cares? She's free (somewhat) and still doesn't seem to be backing down. Very brave woman.
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 06:31 pm
Very brave woman.

Yes, indeed.
An exceptionally brave & principled woman, Roger.
I am in awe of her strength of conviction against the overwhelming odds.
It has cost her so much & may well continue to do so in the future.
All power to her, I say.
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Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 06:57 pm
Quite a change of tactics.
Quite a challenge to the generals, actually.
A call for more openness , transparency & accountability in the new "democratic" Burma.
If they want respectability & credibility on the world stage & for the sanctions to be removed, then they are being challenged to act considerably more democratically than they ever have during their imposed military rule over the country.
It will be interesting to see what (if any) their response will be.:

Suu Kyi may give ground to junta
Steve Finch and John Pomfret, Rangoon
November 17, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters at the National League for Democracy headquarters in Rangoon. Photo: AFP

BURMESE democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will consider recognising this month's parliament elected in a vote widely derided as a fraud and might support a softening of international sanctions.

''We have got to be able to talk to each other,'' Ms Suu Kyi told The Washington Post at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy. ''I think, firstly, we have to start talking affably - real genuine talks, not just have some more tea or this or that.''

The Nobel peace prize laureate confirmed that she would seek talks with military leaders who imprisoned her for 15 of the past 20 years, suggesting her strategy to bring about change will be one of compromise.

Ms Suu Kyi has taken a hard line in previous aborted efforts to bring democracy to Burma. But her comments indicate a willingness to engage with a junta that she has spent much of her professional life fighting.

Although she was released by the government, and security forces were not a heavy presence when she gave a political speech to thousands of supporters on Sunday, the junta, which has clung to power for 48 years, retains the ability to exert tight control over her. In the past, whenever the military felt threatened by her burgeoning grass-roots support, it returned her to detention.

Ms Suu Kyi, 65, spoke frankly about her plans. She said she was not surprised by the way the junta had rigged the November 7 election, giving itself 80 per cent of seats. ''It's no use saying that you can choose freely between a rock and a hard place,'' she said. ''We want meaningful choice.''

Although her party boycotted the vote, she said she would be willing to work within the parliamentary framework if the government gives opposition forces sufficient voice.

She stepped away from her support for economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union. ''Obviously, there has to be a time when we must rethink the situation,'' she said. Sanctions have been a major point of contention with General Than Shwe's junta.

With the UN Security Council to discuss Burma this week and the General Assembly to vote on a Burma rights resolution, international powers are anxiously looking for signs of how the junta treats Ms Suu Kyi. The council is split between the US and European nations, which have taken a hard line on Burma, and China, its main international backer, and its allies.

Diplomats said if Ms Suu Kyi asks for the ending of sanctions, ''obviously we would need to listen to that case''.

Ms Suu Kyi said she was considering opening a Facebook page to reach younger Burmese.

''They [Burma's censors] cannot keep even these young people - boys - cut off completely from the rest of the world,'' she said.


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Reply Wed 20 Jul, 2011 06:12 am
From this week's Foreign Correspondent, broadcast on the ABC (Australia).
Reporter Zoe Daniels recently visited Burma, where she spoke with Aung San Suu Kyi.:

VIDEO:Burma - The Lady on the Lake
She’s the stoic, enduring face of the struggle against military rule in her poor and brutally oppressed country. Persistently pushing against the heavy hand of the junta, her dignified perseverance - even during years of house arrest - has made Aung San Suu Kyi a towering figure of inspiration at home and abroad. But at 66 is the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy icon still the best hope for freedom in Burma? After a risky path to her front door, we find Aung San Suu Kyi expansive, candid and resolute but time is passing and genuine change seems as far away as ever.

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Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 06:22 am
Last night's Foreign Correspondent:

Burma - The Road to Mandalay

Have visa, will travel. Sounds simple, but until now, it just wasn’t that easy for journalists to visit one of Asia’s most fascinating and under-reported countries. Now Burma has lifted the curtain and the ABC’s South East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel and her crew have been able to travel widely and openly there for the first time, talking to ordinary Burmese and showing the rest of us what this beautiful place looks like. It’s still early days for the reform process and no-one really understands why the changes are happening, but one thing seems clear – Burma will be the next hot spot on the tourist trail.

Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 06:59 am
I forgot to mention that there's a bit of footage of Aung San Suu Kyi on the campaign trail in the program.
Let's see how free & fair the next election actually will be!
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Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 04:00 am
How unfortunate, with the Burmese polls just days away .....

I hope she's not seriously ill.


Suu Kyi cancels campaign travel after falling ill

Updated March 26, 2012 06:34:49

Photo: Fallen ill: Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Reuters: Soe Zeya Tun)

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been forced to suspend her campaign for a seat in parliament because of ill health, her party has said.

Ms Suu Kyi, who is running for a seat in parliament in the April 1 polls, was put on a drip and ordered to rest by her doctor after falling ill in the town of Myeik in Burma's far south.

Looking tired and drawn, she arrived at Rangoon airport after cutting short her visit, saying only that she was "not well".

Her doctor, Tin Myo Win, said Ms Suu Kyi was getting better, but that he had asked that she cancel a final campaign trip on Tuesday and Wednesday to Magway, the central Burmese region where her independence hero father was born.

"She is recovering, but she needs to rest for at least a week," he said.

An increasingly frail-looking Ms Suu Kyi has been briefly taken ill once before during her gruelling schedule of rallies and speeches across the country.

The health of the opposition leader is likely to be a source of anxiety for the tens of thousands of supporters who have thronged to see her at almost every stage of the campaign.

Dr Tin Myo Win said Ms Suu Kyi had became exhausted and suffered vomiting and low blood pressure on Saturday after the boat she was travelling in got stuck on a sandbank for several hours during her trip in the south.

She pressed ahead with a final rally in Myeik on Sunday and was cheered by tens of thousands as she urged supporters to vote for her National League for Democracy party, according to a photographer at the scene.

"I'm trying to keep in good health," she told the crowd, apologising for making only a brief speech before rushing to catch a flight back to Rangoon.

"I have been encouraged by the people," she said.

A statement from the NLD confirmed the decision to cancel this week's Magway trip.

The polls next week are the first time Ms Suu Kyi, whose Kawhmu constituency is near Rangoon, has been able to stand for election in a country dominated by the military for decades.


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Reply Sat 31 Mar, 2012 05:19 pm
The Burmese by-election is about to proceed (1st April, Burma time.)

Despite the recent "democratization" of the country, it has hardly been the free & fair campaign the country's ruling military claim it has been, with the reports of voter fraud & other "irregularities" during the lead-up to the election.

Aung San Suu Kyi boycotted the last (2010) election, but this time she & her party are participating. Due to, she says "the will of the people". And she looks set to win a seat in the parliament. As imperfect as the situation is (with hard-core generals opposing the country's recent reforms), & after more than two decades under house arrest , what a moment this will be for her & her supporters! Smile

Burma poll not free or fair, says Suu Kyi
Lindsay Murdoch
March 31, 2012/the AGE

Aung San Suu Kyi is standing for one of 45 seats to be decided by tomorrow's byelections. Photo: Reuters

PRO-DEMOCRACY leader Aung San Suu Kyi has declared that Burma's crucial byelections tomorrow will not be completely democratic because of widespread irregularities during campaigning.

But the 66-year-old Nobel laureate who has spent most of the past 22 years under house arrest says she is pressing forward with her candidacy for a seat in parliament for the sake of the country.

''I don't think we can consider it a genuine free and fair election if we consider what has been happening here over the last few months,'' she told journalists in Rangoon. The irregularities were ''really beyond what's acceptable in a democratic nation,'' she said. ''Still, we are determined to go forward because that's what our people want.''

Addressing foreign and local journalists during a press conference held at her residence in Yangon on March 30, 2012. The two-month long campaign has taken its toll on Suu Kyi, 66, who was this week forced to rest due to exhaustion and low blood-pressure.

Her victory is widely expected although election observers were only granted visas to enter Burma this week. Suu Kyi herself has declared that the elections will not be completely democratic because of widespread voter fraud during the campaign.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for the majority of her two decades as an opposition figure, even though her party, the National League for Democracy, won significant portions of the vote in the country's 1990 general election.

Suu Kyi's party is contesting 44 of the 45 seats that are up for grabs in Myanmar's 664-seat parliament.

Western nations, including the United States and Australia, have said they will consider easing sanctions on the country if the ballot is seen as free and fair.

Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has complained of widespread voter fraud, including the placing of the names of dead people on electoral rolls.

The party said its candidates had been followed, filmed and intimidated by secret police, some supporters were attacked and campaign signs destroyed. The party also was blocked from holding rallies in sports stadiums, forcing them to be held in dusty fields in blistering heat outside of towns.

Federal Labor MP Janelle Saffin, an expert on Burma's laws, told The Age the irregularities, as well as laws dictating that election speeches be censored, meant the ballot for 45 seats in Burma's parliament could not meet international polling standards.

Burma denied a visa for Ms Saffin to travel to Burma with a five-person Australian delegation to observe the election.

Ms Saffin said the delegation, which includes two government officials and three journalists, would only be allowed to observe voting on the day.

''This does not meet the standards of international election monitoring which include observation of campaigning, advance polling and processes,'' she said. But Ms Saffin said for such a repressive regime to allow any independent monitoring was a start.

Ms Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burma's independence hero Aung San, is set to become Burma's opposition leader in a parliament dominated by military-linked parties and military delegates.

The NLD is contesting 44 of 45 seats that are up for grabs in the country's 664-seat parliament.

A ballot in 2010 that swept a military-dominated government to power was also marred by complaints of cheating and fraud.

Ms Suu Kyi and her party boycotted that election.

Tomorrow's ballot outcome will help determine whether Burma continues on a path of reform after releasing hundreds of political prisoners, easing media restrictions and revamping labour laws.

Burmese President Thein Sein, a former army general, reportedly told a visiting Malaysian delegation this week that the reforms under way were ''irreversible''.

But military hardliners are known to oppose the reforms.

Once sealed off from the outside world, Burma decided last week to allow observers from more than a dozen countries to monitor the vote.

Authorities told Ms Saffin her visa was refused because the government wanted government officials, not politicians, to be in Australia's delegation. Ms Saffin has for years been a behind-the-scenes activist pressing for freedoms for the Burmese people.

Reply Sat 31 Mar, 2012 09:48 pm
Rights advocates cautious as Burma votes
Lindsay Murdoch
April 1, 2012/the AGE

Aung San Suu Kyi waves to her supporters during an election campaign rally. Photo: AFP

HUMAN rights groups say the almost certain election of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Burma's military-dominated parliament today is not a serious test of the government's commitment to reform.

''The real test is whether the new parliament can reform repressive laws and civilians can assert authority over the military, which continues to commit abuses in ethnic areas,'' said Elaine Pearson, deputy director at Human Rights Watch Asia.

Byelections for 45 seats would bring opposition voices into Burma's 664-seat parliament, including Ms Suu Kyi, but is only one step forward for the country, Ms Pearson said.

Human Rights Watch and other rights organisations urge Western countries, including the United States and Australia, not to rush to ease economic sanctions imposed in response to decades of brutal military rule.

''The April 1 byelection is not a panacea to Burma's continuing human rights challenges and the international community shouldn't be lulled into equating elections with reform,'' Ms Pearson said.

''Prematurely scrapping sanctions and blindly pursing engagement for humanitarian assistance and foreign investment in the absence of a functioning legal framework could derail the fragile gains of the past year.''

Western countries have signalled they will consider easing sanctions if today's ballot is seen as free and fair. ... <cont>

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Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 07:15 pm
Aung San Suu Kyi wins seat in parliament
By South-East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel and staff/ABC NEWS
Updated April 02, 2012 10:20:21

Included in link below:
Video: Suu Kyi claims historic victory in Burmese elections (ABC News)
Related Story: Change is brewing in Burma, but road is long
Related Story: Suu Kyi makes election debut in Burma
Related Story: Suu Kyi says vote campaigning not free and fair
Video: 'Leap of faith' nets Suu Kyi interview (ABC News)
Map: Burma)

Burma's opposition claimed a historic victory as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won her first bid for a seat in parliament, sparking scenes of jubilation among supporters.

The Nobel laureate won an estimated 82 per cent of the vote in a by-election in the constituency of Kawhmu, south of Rangoon, according to the National League of Democracy (NLD).

Thousands of people took to the streets after the vote, singing, dancing and cheering for Ms Suu Kyi and members of the NLD who were elected.
Audio: Zoe Daniel reports on the Burmese elections (AM)

The results have not been officially verified, but it looks clear that Ms Suu Kyi won in a landslide in her seat, and many of her colleagues will also take seats in Burma's lower house.

The ABC observed counting at a small booth in Rangoon where an unofficial result of 402 to 119 in the NLD's favour was announced.

It is believed they may have won as many as 30 out of 44 seats so far. ...<cont>

Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 02:01 am
I sincerely hope this view of the by-election outcome is wrong.
But, judging by the past performance of the Burmese junta/government, this may be the case.
What if, come the next big election, Aung San Suu Kyi's party is just as successful (on a much bigger scale) as it was this time?

That's why the generals locked her up in the first place .... her party achieved a resounding electoral victory which they refused to acknowledge or accept, around 20 years ago ... Neutral

Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2012 06:15 am
Meanwhile in the latest news, Suu Kyi and others who just won elections, are boycotting Parliament due to the wording of the oath they are supposed to take.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her fellow National League for Democracy MPs are refusing to attend parliament because the oath of office requires them to 'safeguard' the constitution when they want it changed.

Aung San Suu Kyi and the other newly elected MPs in Burma's leading opposition party boycotted parliament on Monday but party officials expect their dispute over the oath of office to be resolved soon.

The National League for Democracy objects to the oath saying they must "safeguard the constitution" when in fact they want it amended to reduce the military's power.

The dispute comes as the European Union is expected to hold a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to suspend most sanctions against Burma for a year while it assesses the country's progress toward democracy.

The absence from parliament of Aung San Suu Kyi and 42 other elected lawmakers who won historic 1 April byelections had been expected. Her MPs say they will not attend until the dispute is resolved.

Aung Suu Kyi's party wants the phrasing "safeguard the constitution" changed to "respect the constitution." The party says that phrasing was changed in the party registration law last year and other relevant laws should be changed as well.

Opposition lawmaker Ohn Kyaing confirmed the refusal to attend and no party members were present on Monday when the upper house began its session in the capital, Nyapyidaw. But Ohn Kyaing said he believed the issue would be overcome quickly because there was support within President Thein Sein's administration to change the oath.

Party officials have played down the problem, saying they still expect the MPs to attend the assembly, possibly this week or next.

The oath is in an appendix to the constitution and it is unclear whether it can be changed without the approval of 75% of parliament.

The constitution automatically allocates 25% of parliamentary seats to unelected representatives of the military and Aung San Suu Kyi's party maintains this is undemocratic.

It also bars people from the nation's presidency if they or any of their relatives are foreign citizens; that effectively prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from ascending to the presidency because she married a British national, Michael Aris, who died in 1999, and their two children were born abroad and do not live in Burma.

Thein Sein has overseen a wave of political reforms since taking office a year ago, and analysts say his administration needs the opposition in parliament to gain international legitimacy.

The byelection's outcome, in which the opposition won almost all of the 45 seats up for grabs, was considered a major step toward reconciliation after decades of military rule in Burma.

Wooing Aung San Suu Kyi's party to rejoin politics after it boycotted the 2010 election was a key turning point in the government's campaign for western economic sanctions imposed during military rule to be lifted.

While that is going on The EU, has suspended sanctions against Burma, while continuing the arms sales embargo.


The European Union suspended its sanctions against Burma on Monday for a year in response to widely praised political reforms in the country, but it will retain an embargo on arms sales.

The EU wants to support the progress made in the southeastern Asian nation "so it becomes irreversible," said foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. She will travel to Burma, also known as Myanmar, this week.

The measure were adopted by the bloc's foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, said spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic. Sanctions currently target more than 800 companies and nearly 500 people, and include the withholding of some development aid.

European and U.S. officials have pointed to significant reforms in Burma over the past year. These include more freedom for the media and political opposition parties, and the election to Parliament of former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose arrest originally drove the imposition of the penalties.

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