Real progress, democracy possible: Suu Kyi

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was on Tuesday critical yet conciliatory towards Myanmar`s ruling junta.

Updated: Jun 19, 2012, 19:57 PM IST

London: Critical yet conciliatory towards Myanmar`s ruling junta, democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said that though the military rulers were guilty of shooting civilians in the past, it was still "possible to work" with them to ensure progress and democracy.

Participating in a packed seminar on the idea of rule of law at the London School of Economics (LSE), Suu Kyi repeated her conviction expressed during her European tour that the rule of law was a prerequisite for real progress and democracy in her trouble-torn country.

On the statelessness of the Rohingiya Muslims, she said it was also linked to the rule of law.

She said her country`s laws of citizenship needed to be looked into to assess if they were in line with internationally accepted standards.

Suu Kyi noted that one of the top items in her manifesto during recent by-elections in the country was a promise to amend the constitution.

The Constitution, as it stands, did not "harmonise aspirations" of the ethnic Myanmarese as well as those of the ethnic minorities.

"We have a rigid constitution. More than 75 per cent of members of the National Assembly must agree for amendments.

Now 25 per cent of members are the military, while most of the civilian members are from USDP (Union Solidarity and Development Party), which is created by the government", she said.

Suu Kyi added: "But it is still possible to work with the military to amend the constitution. Progress and democratisation depends on the rule of law... Reform and democracy are possible only when justice is done and seen to be done".

Seeking responsible foreign investment in the country, Suu Kyi said the terms of a contract signed by the Myanmar government with Chinese companies were not known.

There should be transparency on how the government entered into such contracts with foreign entities, she said.

To a questioner asking her why she did not condemn violence in the Kachin state in north Myanmar, Suu Kyi said she condemned all forms of violence, but it was not clear what was happening in the state because independent observers were not allowed to go there.

"Resolving conflict is not about condemnation, but finding out how it can be resolved", she said.