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'I believe in human rights,' says Aung San Suu Kyi

November 14, 2010 - Yangon

A day after she was released from seven years of house arrest, Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, told thousands of wildly cheering supporters on Sunday that she would continue her fight for human rights and for the establishment of the rule of law in the military-ruled nation.

Addressing about 5,000 people who crowded around the dilapidated headquarters of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Suu Kyi said: "I believe in human rights and I believe in the rule of law. I will always fight for these things. I want to work with all democratic forces and I need the support of the people."

Suu Kyi was earlier greeted with bouquets and thunderous applause, The Telegraph reports.

She met with diplomats and was later scheduled to talk with the media, attend the funeral of a close friend and pay a customary visit to the city's sacred Shwedagon pagoda.

"This is an unconditional release. No restrictions are placed on her," her lawyer Nyan Win said.

During her speech, she did not sound a strident note, speaking about working toward national reconciliation and saying she bore no grudge against those who had held her in detention for more than 15 of the last 21 years.

She thanked her well-wishers and asked them to pray for those still imprisoned by the regime.

Human rights groups say the junta hold more than 2,200 political prisoners.

In her first public appearance Saturday evening, Suu Kyi indicated she would continue with her political activity but did not specify whether she would challenge the military with mass rallies and other activities that led to her earlier detentions.

Myanmar's last elections in 1990 were won overwhelmingly by her National League for Democracy, but the military refused to hand over power and instead clamped down on opponents.

Suu Kyi took up the democracy struggle in 1988, as mass demonstrations were breaking out against 25 years of military rule. he was quickly thrust into a leadership role, mainly because she was the daughter of Aung San, who led Myanmar to independence from Britain before his assassination by political rivals.

She rode out the military's bloody suppression of street demonstrations to help found the NLD. Her defiance gained her fame and honor, most notably the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1989, she was detained on national security charges and put under house arrest. Out of the last 21 years, she has been jailed or under house arrest for more than 15.


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