for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights
Aung San Suu Kyi
Burma's Modern Symbol of Freedom
The Burmese Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of the legendary liberation movement leader Aung San. Following studies abroad, she returned home in 1988. From then on, she led the opposition to the military junta that had ruled Burma since 1962. She was one of the founders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and was elected secretary general of the party. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she opposed all use of violence and called on the military leaders to hand over power to a civilian government. The aim was to establish a democratic society in which the country's ethnic groups could cooperate in harmony.
In the election in 1990, the NLD won a clear victory, but the generals prevented the legislative assembly from convening. Instead they continued to arrest members of the opposition and refused to release Suu Kyi from house arrest.
The Peace Prize had a significant impact in mobilizing world opinion in favor of Aung San Suu Kyi's cause. However, she remained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from her arrest in July 1989 until her release on 13 November 2010, whereupon she was able to resume her political career and put her mark on the rapid democratization of Myanmar.