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Definition: Aung San Suu Kyi from Philip's Encyclopedia

Burmese politician, daughter of Aung San. She was under house arrest (1989-95) for leading the National League for Democracy, a coalition opposed to Burma's oppressive military junta. Dedicated to peaceful resistance, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Aung San Suu Kyi won 2000 elections, but the junta ignored the result and again placed her under house arrest. She was released in 2002 after UN pressure, but rearrested in 2003. Further UN demands for her release have been refused.

Summary Article: Aung San Suu Kyi (1945– )
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Myanmar (Burmese) politician and human-rights campaigner, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) from 1988, the opposition to the military junta, and first state councillor from 2016. She is the daughter of former Burmese premier Aung San, who fought for the country's independence. She was placed under house arrest in 1989 for campaigning for democratization. Although the NLD won the 1990 elections, the junta refused to surrender power. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991 in recognition of her ‘nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights’ in Myanmar. She was released from house arrest in 1995, but the junta banned her from resuming any leadership post within the NLD and she remained under house arrest for much of the period 2000–10. The NLD eventually won a landslide victory in multi-party election in November 2015, but the constitution barred her from becoming president. However, as first state councillor from March 2016, she had effective control over the new NLD-led government. In autumn 2017 she faced international criticism for failing to denounce the military's brutal Muslim Rohingya ethnic cleansing campaign.

Throughout the 1990s her situation grabbed international attention as she was not allowed to move freely around Myanmar. In 1998, her husband, Oxford academic Michael Aris, whom she met when studying in England, was refused a visa to enter Myanmar, despite suffering from cancer, from which he died in March 1999.

In August 2000, she was involved in a nine-day roadside protest after not being allowed to travel to meet NLD members. She was placed under house arrest until May 2002 and again from May 2003, after publicly criticizing the junta's unwillingness to make concessions to democracy. The European Union and USA responded by imposing further trade sanctions against the Myanmar regime. In August 2009, her sentence to house arrest was extended when she was found guilty of violating the terms of her detention after an American man swam to her compound. In November 2010, she was released from house arrest and in April 2012 was elected to parliament.

She was born in Yangon (Rangoon). Her father was assassinated when she was two years old. Her mother, Khin Kyi, was Burma's ambassador in India in the 1960s, and Suu Kyi was educated at schools and universities in Myanmar, India, Britain, and the USA. She graduated in 1967 from Oxford University with a BA in philosophy, politics, and economics and worked for the United Nations from the 1970s.

She returned to Myanmar in 1988 to take care of her ailing mother. This coincided with a growing movement for democratization, which followed the retirement of the dictator General Ne Win. Influenced strongly by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence, Suu Kyi pressed for reform and helped found the NLD. The country's military junta placed her under house arrest in 1989 and she refused to leave Myanmar because she was told she would be refused re-entry. In 1990 the NLD won parliamentary elections, but the military did not allow it to take power and kept Suu Kyi under house arrest until July 1995.


Aung San Suu Kyi

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