Aung San Suu Kyi Seeks Support From Burmese Diaspora

Posted September 20th, 2012 at 8:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Burma's democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called on the Burmese community in the United States to support the democratic movement in their native land.

Speaking mostly in Burmese, the Nobel Laureate on Thursday addressed her compatriots, including a group of Buddhist monks, at American University in Washington. But she reiterated in English that they can help by explaining to others what her party is trying to achieve.

“In this day and age there are very, very few happy endings and very few success stories. So much seems to be happening that is disappointing, that is disillusioning all around the world. I want Burma to be the exception.”

Earlier Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi urged human-rights activists to continue their efforts aimed at ending the plight of political prisoners.

She told members of the Amnesty International rights group and other supporters in Washington that hatred and fear often prompt officials to detain individuals with different viewpoints.

“Prisoners become prisoners out of the fear of others, those who fear — the others who fear that they will be troubled, that these prisoners are people who will challenge them.”

Burma's opposition leader spent 14 years in detention under Burma's former military rulers, and is on a 17-day U.S. visit that marks her first trip to America since being freed from house arrest in 2010.

During the highlight of her trip Wednesday, she received the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony attended by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and leading lawmakers in Washington. Afterwards she met privately with President Barack Obama at the White House.

During her U.S. visit Aung San Suu Kyi has called for easing of U.S. sanctions against Burma. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the two governments are working “effectively” in a process whereby reforms undertaken by the government of Burma are met with easing of sanctions by the United States.

Aung San Suu Kyi is set to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon early Friday.

Burma's President Thein Sein will address the U.N. General Assembly next week.

Aung San Suu Kyi's other stops in the United States include California and Indiana. Fort Wayne, Indiana is home to one of the country's largest Burmese-American communities.