Aung San Suu Kyi Calls for International Investment in Burma

Posted June 14th, 2012 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for international aid and investment that will help promote further democratic reform in Burma at the start of her European tour.

In Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, the newly elected lawmaker said in an address to the International Labor Organization that she would like to see the Burmese government make additional reforms to protect the rights of workers in the once isolated country.

Her speech comes a day after the ILO, a U.N. agency that sets and monitors global labor conditions, lifted sanctions against Burma after its government pledged to abolish forced labor by 2015.

Aung San Suu Kyi also expressed concern about the violence between Muslims and Buddhists that has gripped western Burma for over a week. She told reporters that such violence will continue unless the rule of law is ensured and every citizen is guaranteed equal protection.

The Nobel laureate was greeted with flowers as she arrived in Geneva and received several lengthy standing ovations during her speech, which comes at the beginning of her first trip to Europe in 24 years.

The 67-year-old democracy activist spent much of the past two decades under house arrest. She was released in 2010, but had previously been afraid to leave the country out of fear the government would not let her return.

The trip is a sign of her increased confidence in Burma's nascent reform process, which began last year when the country's long-time military rulers ceded power to a quasi-civilian government.

Following her address in Geneva, she was to travel to the Swiss capital of Bern to meet President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

On Friday, she will visit the Swiss parliament before heading for Oslo where she is due to formally accept the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, which she was unable to receive in person due to her detention.

Later in the trip, Aung San Suu Kyi will address Britain's parliament and receive an Amnesty International human rights award in Dublin from rock star Bono.

She will also spend time in Britain, where she lived for years with her late husband before returning to Burma in 1988.

SOUNDBITE (English) Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar opposition leader:

''As rights should be balanced by responsibilities, opportunities should be

linked to probity, if we are to avoid the dangers of exploitation. What I

would like to see for our country is democracy-friendly development growth,

I would like to call for aid and investment that will strengthen the

democratisation process by promoting social and economic progress that is

beneficial to political reform. The National League for Democracy has

repeatedly emphasized the need for rule of law and an end to ethnic conflict

in our country. Unless these basic requirements are met the foundation for

healthy, social, political and economic growth can not be laid down.''