Myanmar moving in right direction, freed democracy activist says

Aung San Suu Kyi talks at press conference on the anniversary of her release in Yangon, Myanmar on November 14.

Story highlights

  • Myanmar democracy activist says country has made some progress
  • Aung San Suu Kyi says her party will meet in a few days to decide about elections
  • The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner was held in house arrest for 15 of past 21 years
  • She was released one year ago

Myanmar has made some progress toward political reforms, democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday on the one-year anniversary of her release from years of house arrest.

Speaking in Yangon on Monday, she told journalists and diplomats that in addition to her yearnings for political freedom for the country, she "deeply believed that the president also wants a change."

Suu Kyi has met repeatedly with President Thein Sein and the country's minister for labor and for social welfare, relief and resettlement, Aung Kyi, since her release from house arrest a year ago.

Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, plans to meet Friday, she said, to discuss the possibility of registering the party with election officials and standing candidates for election.

Since the release of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the country's military-controlled government has won limited praise from international human rights groups for making some progress toward political freedoms.

Human Rights Watch reported this month that Sein's administration has loosened restrictions on the media and passed laws protecting basic human rights. Suu Kyi has also been given freedom to travel and access to the international media, the group reported. But the government's tight grip on the country -- particularly at the local level -- has not relaxed, Human Rights Watch reported.

The country continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners and has not moved to repeal repressive laws that limit free speech and assembly, the group said.

"With this backdrop, it is too early to know whether the government's change of tone and talk of reform is cynical window-dressing or evidence that significant change will come to the country," the group wrote in a briefing paper.

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