19 Jun 2012

Democracy through rule of law, says Aung San Suu Kyi

On the first day of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to the UK, she emphasises the importance of the “rule of law” as a means to achieving democracy.

Taking part in a round-table debate at LSE on Tuesday morning, Ms Suu Kyi emphasised the importance of the “rule of law”, saying she had stressed it in her political work because it is “what we all need to progress towards democracy”.

“Unless justice is done and seen to be done we cannot reform.”, she said.

Asked why she did not condemn the military junta in Burma, she explained that “resolving conflict is not about condemnation”, but about discovering the roots of conflict, and how to solve it “in the best way possible”.

She also said she had been “touched by the warmth” that people had welcomed her with during the trip.

“It is all of you and people like you who have given me the strength to continue,” she said, “and I guess I do have a stubborn streak in me.”

On the first day of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the UK, she emphasises the importance of the

Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit is a milestone in Burma’s history as the country continues its remarkable series of reforms.

She spent most of the last two decades under house arrest over her opposition to the ruling military junta, before being finally released two years ago and winning a landslide victory in by-elections this year.

Ms Suu Kyi is the daughter of Burmese independence leader Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947.

She became the leader of Burma’s pro-democracy movement when, after living abroad for many years, she returned to Burma in 1988, initially to look after her sick mother.

She never left the country, fearing its military rulers would not allow her to return and was unable to receive her Nobel Peace Prize in person, or be with her husband when he died in 1999.

Whirlwind tour

During the tour, Aung San Suu Kyi has already formally accepted the Nobel peace prize she won in 1991. Later this week she will address both houses of the British parliament.

In addition to Britain, the whirlwind tour will take in countries including Switzerland, Norway, France and Ireland, where a music concert in Dublin was organised by the city’s mayor and Amnesty International in her honour.

She is due to meet the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall later in the trip – her first to Europe since 1988.

The pro-democracy leader spent much of the last 24 years under house arrest in Burma. She was freed in late 2010.