BURMESE pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi made history as the first woman – excluding The Queen – to address both Houses of Parliament, on Thursday.
Her 30-minute address – to members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords – focussed on the nature of democracy. And it included an appeal to Britain and the world beyond to support the people of Burma.
Ms Suu Kyi – who was detained under house arrest in Burma for more than 20 years – is leader of the National League for Democracy Party in Burma.
On April 1 her party took 40 seats in the Burmese Government, making her leader of the Opposition.
Following her speech in Westminster Hall, Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said: “Aung San Suu Kyi has battled for democracy in her country for more than 20 years.
“Her fight has been one of self-sacrifice, of patience and of courage – and she is an inspiration to us all.
“I am delighted that she was invited to address both Houses of Parliament – and I am proud to have been able to hear her speak.”
During her visit to Europe – the first she has made outside Burma since 1988 - she also collected a Nobel Prize in Norway and an honorary civil law doctorate from Oxford University, where she had been a student in the 1960s.
Others to have been granted the honour of making an address to both Houses have been French President Charles de Gaulle, South African President Nelson Mandela, American President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI.
Ms Suu Kyi is the first person to be invited make the address who is not a head of State.
Published 22 June, 2012