Address to Aung San Suu Kyi
By Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza
Thursday 21 June 2012
'On behalf of the House of Lords, and everyone here today, may I express our collective and heartfelt thanks for your inspiring words.
We all espouse freedom and democracy but few of us are called upon to pay for and uphold these principles by spending 15 years in detention. Your presence here today is a testament to your courageous approach of steadfast non-violence and reason in the face of an oppressive, powerful and determined regime.
Your struggle has reverberated around the world. It has forcibly reminded us that free and fair elections, a free press, an independent judiciary, and the institutions of civil society are the cornerstones of democracy and individual freedom. We take these freedoms for granted at our peril. Democracy is never won once and forever – it is a process requiring constant vigilance. Today you have reminded us of the struggle that must continue in Burma and elsewhere.
In post-war Europe we have seen that it is possible for countries to make the transition from totalitarianism to democracy, and I trust that this will give you hope and encouragement for the journey ahead.
Your stand against repression has been at the heart of the National League for Democracy’s struggle. I am sure that at times during your long campaign you must have felt unbearably lonely, though as you yourself have said, the Nobel Peace Prize allowed you to feel part of the international community. And indeed, through you, your people and your country were always in our minds.
Now, together, we must use this occasion of your address to fellow parliamentarians to renew our own determination to be part of the struggle for liberty whenever and wherever it arises.'
Image: Parliamentary copyright/Roger Harris