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Suu Kyi addresses US Congress
WASHINGTON, Jun 25 (Agencies):
Published on 25 Jun. 2011 11:19 PM IST
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Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi this week addressed the US Congress for the first time by video.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner used the occasion to ask US lawmakers to support efforts to encourage what she called “the real road to democracy”.
Her address was part of a hearing discussing whether Myanmar’s recent elections have improved political freedom in the country.
In 2008 Suu Kyi received the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal.
And now, her pre-recorded video message to a House of Representative sub-committee is the first time she has officially addressed the US Congress.
Representative Don Manzullo, chairman of Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said: “I cannot disclose how we received this video and I would instruct the press not to ask me that question if they are so inclined.” Suu Kyi wants lawmakers to help support and implement a UN Human Rights Council Resolution from March.
“With the help and support of true friends, I’m sure we will be able to tread the path of democracy, not easily and perhaps not as quickly as we would like, but surely and steadily,” she said.
She is calling for the adoption of a variety of measures to increase political freedoms and improve human rights.
“The requests, the urgings, the demands of this resolution are very much in line with what we in Burma (Myanmar) think is needed to start Burma along the genuine process of democratization,” she said.
Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest last November, days after Myanmar’s general elections, which are regarded by Washington’s officials and lawmakers as having been flawed.
Representative Don Manzullo said: “This exercise was nothing more than a well choreographed manoeuvre by the ruling elites to transform themselves into a more internationally acceptable civilian dictatorship.”
The Obama administration has pursued a policy of engagement, but has resisted calls for an end to sanctions.
Aung Din was imprisoned for four years after being involved in Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement.
He now lives in the US.
Aung Din, executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, said: “As of today, existing sanctions not fully implemented yet, and the engagement remains open-ended and I don’t see any effort by the US government to exercise the pressure in a more effective and well-coordinated way.”
Suu Kyi is also calling for Myanmar to adopt a fair and independent judiciary and to free political prisoners.
And without some substantial movement on these issues mentioned by Suu Kyi, US relations with Myanmar are likely to remain stagnant despite its policy of engagement.

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