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Burma - The Land of Fear
 

Aung San Suu Kyi

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     A biography of Aung San Suu Kyi
     
     
     

    Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Ong San Soo Chee), Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, symbolises the struggle of Burma's people to be free.

    She was born on June 19th, 1945 to Burma's independence hero, Aung San, who was assassinated when she was only two years old.

    Aung San Suu Kyi was educated in Burma, India, and the United Kingdom. While studying at Oxford University, she met Michael Aris, a Tibet scholar who she married in 1972. They had two sons, Alexander and Kim. On March 27 1999, while Aung San Suu Kyi was in Burma, Michael Aris died of cancer in London. He had petitioned the Burmese authorities to allow him to visit Suu Kyi one last time, but they had rejected his request. He had not seen her since a Christmas visit in 1995. The government always urged Suu Kyi to join her family abroad, but she knew that she would not be allowed to return.

    Aung San Suu Kyi had returned to Burma in 1988 to nurse her dying mother and was immediately plunged into the country's nationwide democracy uprising. Joining the newly-formed National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi gave numerous speeches calling for freedom and democracy. The military regime responded to the uprising with brute force, killing up to 5,000 demonstrators. Unable to maintain its grip on power, the regime was forced to call a general election in 1990.

    As Aung San Suu Kyi began to campaign for the NLD, she and many others were detained by the regime. Despite being held under house arrest, the NLD went on to win a staggering 82% of the seats in parliament. The regime never recognized the results of the election.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has been in and out of arrest ever since. She was held under house arrest from 1989-1995, and again from 2000-2002. She was again arrested in May 2003 after the Depayin massacre, during which up to 100 of her supporters were beaten to death by the regime's militia. Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest in Rangoon. Her phone line has been cut, her post is intercepted and National League for Democracy volunteers providing security at her compound were removed in December 2004.

    She has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying "Please use your liberty to promote ours".


    Chronology

    1945:   Born in Rangoon on June 19th, the daughter of independence hero and national leader General Aung San and Daw Khin Kyi; General Aung San is assassinated July 19, 1947.
    Aung San Suu Kyi is educated in Rangoon until 15 years old
         
    1960:   Accompanies mother to Delhi on her appointment as Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal and studies politics at Delhi University
         
    1964-67:   BA in philosophy, politics and economics, St. Hugh's College, Oxford University. She is elected Honorary Fellow in 1990.
         
    1969-71:   Assistant Secretary, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, United Nations Secretariat, New York
         
    1972:   Research Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bhutan; married Dr. Michael Aris, a British scholar.
         
    1973-77:   Birth of sons Alexander in London (1973) and Kim (1977) in Oxford
         
    1985-86:   Visiting Scholar, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
         
    1987:   Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Simla
         
    1988, March:   Student protests break out in Rangoon.
         
    1988, July 23:   General Ne Win steps down as Chairman of the Burma Socialist Programme Party(BSPP) after 26 years, triggering pro-democracy movement.
         
    1988, Aug 8:   The famous 8-8-88 mass uprising starts in Rangoon and spreads to the entire country, drawing millions of people to protest against the BSPP government. The following military crackdown killed thousands.
         
    1988, Aug 26:   Aung San Suu Kyi addresses half-million mass rally in front of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon and calls for a democratic government.
         
    1988, Sep 18:   The military reestablishes its power and the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) is formed. The military again crushes the pro-democracy movement, killing hundreds more.
         
    1988, Sep 24:   The National League for Democracy (NLD) is formed, with Aung San Suu Kyi as general secretary.
         
    1988, Dec 27:   Daw Khin Kyi, mother of Aung San Suu Kyi, dies. The funeral procession draws a huge crowd of supporters, which turns into a peaceful protest against military rule.
         
    1989, Jul 20:   Aung San Suu Kyi is placed her under house arrest in Rangoon under martial law that allows for detention without charge or trial for three years.
         
    1990, May 27:   Despite her continuing detention, the National League for Democracy wins a landslide victory in the general elections by securing 82 percent of the seats; the military junta refuses to recognise the results of the election
         
    1990, Oct 12:   Awarded, in absentia, the 1990 Rafto Human Rights Prize.
         
    1991, Jul 10:   Awarded, in absentia, the 1990 Sakharov Prize (human rights prize of the European Parliament)
         
    1991, Aug 10:   The military regime retroactively amends the law under which Aung San Suu Kyi is held to allow for detention for up to five years without charge or trial.
         
    1991, Oct 14:   Awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize
         
    1991, Dec 10:   Aung San Suu Kyi's ‘Freedom from Fear’ and other writings published in London.
         
    1992:   The Nobel Committee reveals that Aung San Suu Kyi has established a health and education trust in support of the Burmese people to use the $1.3 million prize money.
         
    1994 Sep 20:   Gen. Than Shwe and Gen. Khin Nyunt of SLORC meet Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time since the house arrest.
         
    1995 Jul 10:   The junta releases Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
         
    1995 Oct 10:   The NLD defied junta's ban on changes in party leadership positions and reappointed her as the party's General Secretary.
         
    1999 Mar 27:   Aung San Suu Kyi's husband Michael Aris dies of prostrate cancer in London. His last request to visit Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he had last seen in 1995, was rejected by the military junta which said if Aung San Suu Kyi wanted to leave the country she could do so. She refused the offer knowing that she would not be allowed to return to Burma.
         
    1996-2000:  

    Aung San Suu Kyi defies travel bans imposed against her and continually tries to leave Rangoon. In March 1996, she boarded the train bound for Mandalay but citing a "last minute problem" the coach she was in was left behind at the station.

    On 2 September 2000, around 200 riot police surrounded Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's motorcade near Dala and forced them to return to Rangoon after a nine-day standoff.

         
    2000 Sep 23:   Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest.
         
    2000, Oct:   Aung San Suu Kyi begins secret talks with the military junta. Substance of the talks remains secret, and UN Special Envoy Razali acts as a "facilitator."
         
    2000 Dec 07:   US President Bill Clinton confers America's highest civilian honour on Aung San Suu Kyi. Her son Alexander Aris receives the award on her behalf.
         
    2002 May 6:   Aung San Suu Kyi is freed after 19 months of house arrest.
         
    2003 May 30:  
    During a tour of northern Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters are attacked by the regime's militia in the town of Depayin. As many as 70 people were killed in the attack and over 100 people arrested, including Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu Kyi remained in secret detention for over three months.
         
    2004 March:  

    Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Burma, has his last meeting Aung San Suu Kyi.

         
    2006 May 20:   Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, met Aung San Suu Kyi, the first visit by a foreign official since Razali’s visit in 2004. Gambari met Aung San Suu Kyi again in November 2006 but his visit failed to secure any concessions from Burma’s military regime.
         
    2007 May 25:   Aung San Suu Kyi's term of house arrest was extended for another year.
         
    2007 Sept 22:   Aung San Suu Kyi left her house to greet and pray with Buddhist monks outside her gate during the biggest demonstrations in Burma since the 1988 uprising. This is the first time she has been seen in public since 2003.
         
    2007 Sept 30:   The UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.
         
    2007 Oct 24:  

    Aung San Suu Kyi reaches a total of 12 years in detention.

         
    2007 Oct 25:  

    Aung San Suu Kyi meets the regime’s newly appointed liaison officer, Aung Kyi, but no details of their discussion are made public.

         
    2007 Nov 6:  

    Aung San Suu Kyi meets UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.
    Text of Aung San Suu Kyi's statement released by U.N. envoy
    08 November 2007

         
    2008 Jan 31:  

    Aung San Suu Kyi meets NLD leadership. She asked that they convey to the public the message that "We should hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

    "What I can say is Daw Suu is not satisfied with the current meetings with the junta, especially the fact that the process is not time-bound," NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said, referring to the lack of a time frame for the talks to achieve any results.

         
    2008 Mar 8:   Aung San Suu Kyi meets UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.
         
    2008 May 27   Aung San Suu Kyi's detention is extended again.
         
    2009 Feb 2  

    Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, met Aung San Suu Kyi.

         
    2009 May 3  

    John William Yettaw swims across inya lake to Suu Kyi's home

         
    2009 May 7  

    Aung San Suu Kyi's doctor, Dr Tin Myo Win arrested.

         
    2009 May 8  

    Aung San Suu Kyi placed on an intravenous drip by Dr Tin Myo Win's assistant.

         
    2009 May 14  

    Aung San Suu Kyi charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest after an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her house.

         
    2009 May 18  

    Aung San Suu Kyi's trial begins

         
    2009 May 20  

    Diplomats and journalists allowed to witness Aung San Suu Kyi's trial for one day.

         
       

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