After more than 15 years of house arrest in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi visited Europe this week for the first time in over two decades. The opposition leader and former prisoner of conscience was met with huge crowds across the continent.
In Oslo, she officially accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 1991 for her peaceful struggle for democracy in Burma. In Geneva, she addressed the International Labor Organization. In Dublin, a concert was held in her honor and Bono presented her with Amnesty International’s highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award; she called the event one of the “unforgettable days” of her life. She spoke of the commitment she made to human rights more than 20 years ago: ”To receive this award is to remind me that 24 years ago, I took on duties from which I have never been relieved,” she said
She is currently in the United Kingdom where she gave an address to both houses of Parliament – an invitation normally reserved for heads of state — and this morning met with members of the Burmese community in London.
Speaking in Geneva at the International Labor Conference, she said “What I would like to see for our country is democracy-friendly development growth. I would like to call for aid that would strengthen the democratization process by prompting social and economic progress that is beneficial to political reform.”
At a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, Ms. Suu Kyi said that “‘If we do not get things right this time round, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again.” She asked for Britain’s help to build the institutions in Burma to support democracy. Mr. Camerson said that Burmese President Thein Sein was invited to visit Britain and warned against ”reckless optimism”. He said: “We will remain vigorous and rigorous in our questioning until we have made those changes irreversible.”
To view Ms. Suu Kyi’s European welcome, please check out this video from Amnesty International:
You can also view the Nobel Prize Lecture she gave in Oslo, 21 years after being awarded the honor: