Myanmar's Suu Kyi calls for 'freedom from fear'

By Staff Reporter
AFP Asian Edition

Mar 14, 2012 09:21 EDT

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for "freedom from fear" and further moves towards democracy in a leaked video of her first televised campaign speech to be aired Wednesday.

"Unless people get human rights with freedom from fear, a democratic system cannot be established and developed," Suu Kyi said in the video, echoing the title of her well-known political essay "Freedom from fear."

"Only under the rule of law can people really feel the taste of freedom by really getting protection of the law," she said, ahead of April 1 by-elections in which the pro-democracy icon is standing for parliament for the first time.

The speech was censored by Myanmar's authorities to remove criticism of the former junta, the democracy icon said earlier.

Suu Kyi also called for the abolition of laws which have "oppressed the people."

"We have to write and enact laws that can protect the people," she said.

The video, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR3vv0DK_jw and on Facebook, will be aired on state television Wednesday evening as part of her party broadcast for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Seated in front of an NLD flag, the Nobel peace prize winner also called for a ceasefire to bring an end to the country's long-running conflicts with ethnic minority guerrilla armies.

The appearance on national television of Suu Kyi, who spent much of the past 22 years under house arrest, would have been unthinkable until recently and is a sign of how far the regime has moved with a surprising series of reforms following the end of nearly five decades of outright military rule.

Since a nominally civilian government took power early last year, Suu Kyi has been welcomed back into the political mainstream and her NLD is contesting all 48 seats available in the upcoming by-elections.

In her speech, Suu Kyi said that the 2008 junta-drafted constitution is not democratic, pointing to the unelected military personnel who hold one quarter of the seats in parliament.

Suu Kyi was under house arrest during a 2010 nationwide election, which was boycotted by the NLD and marred by widespread complaints of cheating.

Observers believe the regime wants Suu Kyi to win a seat in the April polls to give its reformist programme legitimacy and spur the West into easing sanctions against the country.

Source: AFP Asian Edition

 

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