Myanmar opposition leader, Aung Sun Suu Kyi was in Australia to receive her honorary doctorate from UTS and the University of Sydney. This is her first official visit to Australia and the political figure spoke of her struggles and the state of democracy in her country.
The portrait of U.S. President Obama is seen printed on a cup which is placed next to another with the portrait of Aung Sun Suu Kyi (Reuters)
The self-described “pragmatic politician” received the honorary doctorate on Nov. 28, 2013. At the event, the exiled leader spoke of democracy and the challenges faced by Burma.
She began her speech by thanking the recognition bestowed upon her by the academic institutions. To her, the award was more than just an honorary degree.
“Now, first of all I’d like to thank all of you for your tremendous support. I would like to say that throughout our years of struggle we have been encouraged by friends from all over the world,” quoted Aung Sun Suu Kyi as reported by Women’s Agenda which published the leader’s full speech.
“The honorary degrees which were presented to me earlier, these were not just honorary degrees. These were signs that the world was with us, that we had not been forgotten in our struggle and for this I would like to thank all of you – all of you in Australia and all over the world.”
She talked about Burma’s future and the choices made by those in power.
“The very first choice that we made with regard to our future was more than 20 years ago when we opted for democracy. Even when there was a very, very brutal – one has to be honest – military regime in power, we never let go of that choice. We were going to opt for democracy, the kind of democracy that was rooted in strong institutions and in respect for human rights but along with our dedication to democracy and human rights we never forgot the need for national reconciliation," said Suu Kyi.
Burma’s constitution was the main focal point of her talk, raising concerns on the fundamentals that stop her from becoming part of the administration. With the constitution designed against her and allies, Suu Kyi reiterated that there’s least hope for “genuine democracy” in Burma.
"We cannot have genuine democracy under current constitution. If Burma is truly to be on the road to democracy, we have to amend this constitution," added Suu Kyi, according to the ABC News Au. "The military must support any amendment in order for it to go through."
She then emphasized the need to amend the constitution.
"The commander-in-chief decides whether or not the constitution can be amended. How can you call a constitution democratic when it can be amended or not amended in accordance with one man in an unelected post?"
Aung Sun Suu Kyi has been traveling around the world to rally support for amendment of the constitution in hopes for a “genuine democracy” in Myanmar.
Acording to the Sydney Morning Herald, the leader’s primary objectives include, “achieving free and fair elections; rewriting the constitution so that democracy and human rights may be upheld by the rule of law; national reconciliation; and successfully inculcating a sense of democracy within the Myanmarese people.”
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Credit: YouTube/Ideas at the House
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