In an historic and symbolic moment, Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi entered parliament in Myanmar [Formerly Burma] to be sworn in to public office. Her personal and political struggle has lasted more than two decades against authoritarian rule, which she has spent mostly under house arrest
The Nobel Peace Prize winner signed a registration book inside the building before taking an oath as a member of parliament. This followed some resistance after her election victory, as Myanmar’s nominally civilian government continues to make reforms.
The Wall Street Journal was one of the first to break the news in the Western media.
Aung San Suu Kyi has recently been receiving increased attention from Western political leaders, including David Cameron and Nicholas Sarcosy.
The Myanmar Times reported this week [April 30 – May 6th 2012]
UN leader Ban Ki-moon on April 23 called for a “harmonious” deal allowing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to take an oath and enter parliament, ahead of his visit this week.
Mr Ban was expected to arrive in Yangon on April 29 to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time as well as President U Thein Sein. Mr Ban told reporters Myanmar’s transition has reached “a critical moment”.
“Now is the time for the international community to stand together at Myanmar’s side,” he added, hailing “landmark” by-elections on April 1. “But this fresh start is fragile.”
The UN secretary-general welcomed moves by the European Union and United States to suspend sanctions and said he would discuss ways the United Nations could help the country. “They deserve our full support,” he said.
Asked about a dispute between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the president over taking the oath of office, Ban said: “I sincerely hope they are able to find a mutually harmonious way to have smooth proceedings of the parliament.”
The dispute is the first sign of tension with the government since the democracy icon’s electoral victory.
We earlier reported her release from house arrest as “a Mandela moment”.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long resistance to Myanmar’s brutal dictatorship gave her people — and the world — hope that her country would someday be free. Her swearing in this week as a member of Myanmar’s Parliament is an important step forward, but the struggle to establish a real democracy is not over.