State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm yesterday, sharing her fond childhood memories of the Scandinavian nation instilled by her mother, who told her of the impressive and extensive care provided for all Swedish citizens, a wish that she has for Myanmar.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was invited to speak to the Riksdag, Sweden’s Parliament, and participated in a seminar for Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The State Counsellor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
“Care is the concept around which we would like to base our essential services to our people in Myanmar. A state that cares for the basic needs of people through the assurance of basic human rights, the provision of appropriate health and education facilities, and capacity building initiatives aimed at equipping them for the multifarious challenges of our rapidly changing world”, she said.
“We look to our people to join us in our efforts to build a solid foundation for a caring state that will be able to contribute significantly to peace, stability and progress not just in our region but throughout the world”.
But before essential services can be assured for the people of Myanmar, the State Counsellor said peace must be attained, with the long path toward peace being blazed by the meetings of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong.
“Myanmar is a very young and yet incomplete democracy, and as we are a land of great diversity, the peace process in which we are engaged is extremely complex and challenging. There is a vital need to build up mutual trust and respect out of the tangled legacy of long-standing conflicts, some of which go back to the day we gained independence nearly 70 years ago. Our goal is a stable, democratic federal union, which will guarantee security, freedom and progress for all our people”, she said. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made a point to mention Rakhine State, a region that has experienced discord and violence in recent months and for which she has received criticism.
“The need to bring peace and harmony to the Rakhine is one of our many challenges, multi-faceted in its need for a steady building of tolerance and friendship, for the full protection of rights that only a truly democratic system can guarantee and for sustainable development that will ease the tensions imposed by limited resources”, she said.
The State Counsellor also touched upon the need for updating the country’s constitution.
“Threading through all these endeavours is the vital need to align our Constitution and other laws with acceptable norms of democratic governance, never losing sight of our final goal: a true democratic Federal Union”, she said.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is on an overseas goodwill tour that has included stops in Canada, where she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Sweden, where she has met with Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also visited the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.
“When peace comes to our land”, the State Counsellor said in the conclusion to her speech to the Swedish Parliament, “I hope that our friends from all over the world who have stood by us in our times of adversity will celebrate our triumph as though it were their very own”.