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Suu Kyi Addresses Community of Democracies

Originally appeared in The Irrawaddy

July 4, 2011

Ahead of her first trip outside of Rangoon since her release from house arrest last year, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told the Community of Democracies (CoD) in a prerecorded address that she expected Burma to achieve democracy in the near future.

In a video message that was played on Thursday at the Ministerial Conference of the CoD, held in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Suu Kyi thanked democratic countries for their support of Burma’s efforts to join their ranks, and said she looked forward to Burma becoming a member of the CoD.

“I was released during the period when Lithuania was at the head of the Community of Democracies. This to me, seemed a very good omen,” Suu Kyi said. “This, to me, indicates that we in Burma will achieve in the not too distant future what we have been working for for so long.”

Suu Kyi, who is scheduled to visit the ancient city of Pagan in Mandalay Region on Monday, added: “We look forward to the time when our country can be an active, energetic, powerful member of the Community of Democracies.”

With Suu Kyi planning to travel outside of Burma’s former capital for the first time since she narrowly escaped an ambush by pro-junta thugs in May 2003 that claimed the lives of dozens of her supporters, many in the international community have expressed concern for her safety.

“Aung San Suu Kyi should be able to travel freely and without risk to her personal security. The international community will be watching developments closely,” said UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement.

The CoD was founded in 2000 and is a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries. It aims to promote democratic rules and strengthen democratic norms and institutions around the world. Lithuania is the current president.

Khin Ohmar, a well-known Burma activist who spoke at the CoD’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society, which was attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior foreign officials, said that she gave the latest information on Burma’s deterioration since last year’s election.

“I urged them to press for the establishment of a UN-led Commission of Inquiry as soon as possible to help stop these grave human rights violations and address issues of impunity and lack of justice in Burma,” said Khin Ohmar.

In a press release, the Non-governmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies said: “Civil society around the world stands in solidarity with the thousands of activists working for democracy in Burma.”

View the original article here.

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