Boston: Establishing rule of law is the first step towards establishing democracy, Myanmar opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest, told students of Harvard and Yale universities.
"You are free in this university to lead your life as you please," Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest in 2010, said at an event in Harvard Thursday, according to the Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper.
"This is what very many students fail to recognize, how free they are, how they have been given freedom of choice on a daily basis, how they have been given the chance to shape their lives as they would like it to shape up," she said.
"Change has started coming to Burma. But we have not yet seen the fruits of this change," she said discussing her plan for preparing the people of Myanmar, previously known as Burma, to be active participants in civil society.
"We have started out on the road of democratisation, and as we go along this road, we have to prepare our people to be citizens of a free society," Suu Kyi was quoted as saying.
Asked about her emotions when she faced the choice to leave her country or be placed under house arrest, Suu Kyi said: "I never thought there was a choice. I never thought of leaving Burma. I always thought that as long as there was one person who believed in democracy in Burma, I had to stay with that person."
In her speech at Yale, Suu Kyi said that establishing rule of law in her country, beginning with judicial reform, was a top priority for her and other members of the National League of Democracy (NLD), the party she helped found in 1988, according to Yale News.
"Some have questioned whether it was right to put rule of law before an end to ethnic conflict," she was quoted as saying. But "Unless there is rule of law," she asserted, "there can be no guarantee of our human rights."