Twenty-one years after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi formally accepted the award, giving her acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway on Saturday. Suu Kyi, featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991 but was unable to accept in Oslo because she was under house arrest for efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar (previously Burma). In early April, after being released from house arrest, Suu Kyi won a seat in parliament as a member of the opposition National League for Democracy party.
In her speech on Saturday, Suu Kyi said, “We are fortunate to be living in an age when social welfare and humanitarian assistance are recognized not only as desirable but necessary. I am fortunate to be living in an age when the fate of prisoners of conscience anywhere has become the concern of peoples everywhere, an age when democracy and human rights are widely, if not universally, accepted as the birthright of all. … If I am asked why I am fighting for democracy in Burma, it is because I believe that democratic institutions and practices are necessary for the guarantee of human rights.”
Between 1989 and 2010, Suu Kyi spent fifteen years under house arrest as a result of her non-violent struggle against the military junta in Myanmar. Suu Kyi’s victory in the election this year opened the possibility that the National League for Democracy party could take control of Myanmar’s government in the 2015 election, though the military continues to exert great influence over Myanmar’s government. The National League for Democracy party has not won an election since 1990, when the results were annulled by the army-junta that was in power at the time.
CNN 6/17/12; Reuters 6/17/12; AP 6/16/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/30/12