Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi: Human Rights Activist and Nobel Laureate

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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, born in 1945, leader of the nonviolent movement for human rights and the restoration of democracy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), and Nobel laureate. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) and educated in India and England, where she attended the University of Oxford. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the American University in Washington, D.C., in 1997. Her mother was a prominent diplomat; her father, U Aung San, is widely acknowledged as the founder of modern Myanmar. Suu Kyi’s writings, collected in Freedom from Fear and Other Writings (1991), reflect on the early death of her father, who was assassinated in 1947, and on Myanmar’s subsequent repression. Through these writings, Suu Kyi established the context for her advocacy of the principles of nonviolence established by Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi. After living abroad for most of her life, Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Myanmar in 1988. The harsh rule of the Myanmar military government led her to speak out for democracy. In 1988 she founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) with other leaders in the democracy movement. Her nonviolent strategy of peaceful rallies and pacifism in the face of threats from the military effectively defused the military’s sustained attempts to obstruct free elections. In July 1989 Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the military government for staging and speaking at mass gatherings, which were illegal in Myanmar. Despite her house arrest, Suu Kyi led the NLD to a landslide victory in May 1990, winning 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. However, the military government refused to allow the elected parliament to convene. Suu Kyi’s arrest and confinement, which ended after six years in July 1995, drew national and international attention to the situation in Myanmar. She refused military offers that would allow her to leave the country because she would not be allowed to...
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