Suu Kyi gets standing ovation at ILO conference

Last Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 18:31

London: Myanmar`s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was given a prolonged and emotional standing ovation on Thursday after delivering her maiden address to the ILO on her first European tour after 24 years.

Clad in traditional Myanmar dress with a green scarf, 66-year-old Suu Kyi is on her first tour of Europe since 1988.

During the tour, she is due to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, and later travel to Britain, Ireland and France.

Looking embarrassed at the prolonged ovation after her address to the International Labour Conference of the ILO at the Palais de Nations in Geneva, Suu Kyi went up to the mike again to say: "I don`t understand why people say I am full of courage. I am terribly nervous".

Yesterday, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decided to lift restrictions imposed on Myanmar since 1999, and readmitted the country into its fold.

Myanmar has not been invited to ILO meetings or activities on various labour matters since then.

Suu Kyi welcomed Myanmar`s readmission to ILO and favoured increased ILO presence in her country.

During her address to the conference, she focussed on youth employment in her country, and looked forward to responsible foreign investment.

Focussing on what she called "responsible democracy and friendly investment", Suu Kyi said she favoured a reconciliatory rather than a retributive approach towards the military rule in the country, as espoused by Bishop Desmond Tutu.

On the recent violence in her country, Suu Kyi later today told reporters that she was concerned over the situation.

The most important lesson to be learned is the rule of law, which was essential to end conflict in her country, she said.

"Without rule of law, such situation will continue. We need the cooperation of all to ensure this. We need political settlement to ensure peace in the conflict areas. We need very clear and precise laws regarding citizenship", Suu Kyi said.

On the reported contract signed by Myanmar with China on laying an oil pipeline, she said: "There is lack of transparency in the country, we don`t know about the contract about oil with Chinese. We don`t know terms. Lack of transparency leads to all kinds of suspicion that show trouble for the future," she said.

Her message to the people of trouble-torn Syria was to "focus on the positive and work for what you think is right".


First Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 10:52

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