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Suu Kyi to be lauded at Nobel lecture

Last Updated: Saturday, June 9, 2012 - 14:42

Strasbourg: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be praised for her non-violent struggle and ability to enter into reconciliation when she gives her Nobel Peace Prize lecture on June 16 in Oslo, official sources said.

Describing Suu Kyi as an "extraordinary human being" and a "moral leader" of the world, Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said the event -- 21 years after Suu Kyi was given the award -- will be a "great" opportunity.

Her sons picked up the Nobel medal and diploma in 1991 because their mother, who has consistently called for democracy in her country, had been put under house arrest by the military regime.

Jagland, who will speak before Suu Kyi gives her lecture, said, "My message will be that struggling for human rights and democracy is the best way to bring peace. Non-violent struggle is the best way to achieve results and others should follow in Suu Kyi`s footsteps."

In an interview with Kyodo News, he compared Suu Kyi to the former South African President Nelson Mandela by having the "courage" to enter into negotiations with previously repressive regimes.

"She has courage, patience and an ability to find solutions and reconcile with enemies," Jagland said.

He said giving the award to Suu Kyi 21 years ago had highlighted her fight for democracy across the world and also gave her moral authority in Myanmar.

"I think that the prize protected her in a way from any further persecution. She was under house arrest and it was impossible for people to harm her because of the attention she got from the prize," he said.

Jagland is encouraged by the recent reforms since the nominally civilian government of reformist President Thein Sein took power last year.

"The reform process could go backwards but that is why the Nobel Peace Prize is important. We should all try and support the democratic process," he said.

The Noble committee official said that he is very much looking forward to the lecture on June 16 because he remembers the "sadness" he felt attending the ceremony in 1991 when Suu Kyi could not attend.

Suu Kyi has previously refused to leave Myanmar due to her fears that she would never be allowed to return.

However, given the recent reforms -- which have also led to her recent election to parliament -- the Myanman leader now feels confident travelling overseas.

She will spend three days in Norway from June 15, before a brief stop in Dublin and then Suu Kyi will spend about six days in Britain. (Kyodo)


First Published: Saturday, June 9, 2012 - 14:42

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