Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the role played by Nobel laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s reconciliation efforts, and re-affirmed the commitment of the United Nations to helping the Asian nation in its efforts.
“We have great expectations and hope that she will lead this path of reconciliation and greater participatory democracy and development of her country, together with President Thein Sein of Myanmar,” Mr. Ban said at a joint media encounter with Ms. Suu Kyi at UN Headquarters in New York.
“In that regard, I pay my great tribute to President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” Mr. Ban said. “They have been walking together down the path of reconciliation and political stability and democracy and human rights, and I really count on her continuing support.”
Mr. Ban and Ms. Suu Kyi had held a meeting before addressing the media, at which they discussed a range of issues, including how the United Nations can help with further democratization in Myanmar.
In May, the UN chief had met the Nobel Peace Prize winner – for the first time – at her home in Yangon, Myanmar, during a three-day visit to the Asian nation.
“At that time we discussed the possibility of her visiting the United Nations. I invited her to visit the United Nations. In fact, she was staff of the United Nations, and I would like to welcome her home,” Mr. Ban said.
While in Myanmar, he had hailed Ms. Suu Kyi as a symbol of hope for human rights worldwide – she had spent nearly two decades under house arrest, before her release in November 2010.
In April, Myanmar citizens headed to the polls to vote for representatives of 48 parliamentary seats, with Ms. Suu Kyi winning a position in the lower house of parliament. The by-elections were part of a series of democratic reforms led by President Sein, which began last year.
Noting her commitment to peace and security and her status as a “global symbol of human rights,” Mr. Ban highlighted how Ms. Suu Kyi now serves not only as General Secretary of the National League for Democracy political party, but also as a member of the Myanmar Parliament, and the Chairperson of the Committee of the Rule of Law and Stability.
“This is quite important, and in that regard, she can continue to help the Myanmar people and many other people around the world who may be experiencing the same hardships and abuse of human rights like herself and the Myanmar people have been enduring,” the Secretary-General said.
In his remarks, Mr. Ban mentioned his appreciation of Ms. Suu Kyi’s participation in the global ‘Education First’ initiative, which he will launch on Wednesday next week. The initiative focuses on three priorities: putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship.
The Secretary-General also highlighted how the United Nations counts on the Nobel Laureate’s “continuing commitment and leadership” in the Organization’s work with Myanmar, particularly in areas which the United Nations has agreed to help with, such as technical assistance for the country’s first census and greater UN engagement to help the country meet its development priorities.
“We have great expectations of your leadership and I really thank you,” Mr. Ban said. “And let us work together for your country’s democraticization and many other countries and peoples who may look to you, to your leadership and vision.”