Finally Suu Kyi receives 1990 Sakharov prize
Myanmar’s pro-democracy activist and parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi finally collected the EU democracy prize that had been awarded 23 years ago while she was under house arrest. The Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988.
About Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In 1988, she got caught up in Myanmar’s pro-democracy protests when she returned to care for her ailing mother after years of living and studying abroad. In 1990, she contested general election as the leader of the NLD and won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 1989 until her most recent release in November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners. Suu Kyi was awarded the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Presently, Suu Kyi is a member of parliament after the 2010 elections brought to power pro-reforms President Thein Sein. She has expressed hopes of becoming Myanmar’s next president, although this would require constitutional changes ahead of the 2015 elections. She has urged the EU to push more strongly for amendments to the Myanmar constitution, which according to her is hindering a full democratization of the country.
The Sakharov Prize
- The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
- The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko.
- The Sakharov Prize is usually awarded annually on or around December 10, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, also celebrated as Human Rights Day.