Myanmar’s famous democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has come out to praise U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration’s “careful and calibrated" engagement with her native country.
Clinton is on an historic trip to the South Asian nation that has faced decades of strife under its ruling military junta.
Suu Kyi herself faced almost two decades of house arrest over her pro-democracy efforts but has come out to laud the current government for its steps towards progression.
Prior to Clinton’s milestone visit this week, Suu Kyi expressed that she “deeply believed that the president (of Myanmar) also wants change.”
Clinton met with Suu Kyi several times through out her visit that could foster a rebirth in diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Myanmar.
“You have been an inspiration but I know that you feel you are standing for all the people of your country who deserve the same rights and freedoms as people everywhere,” the secretary of state told the pro-democracy leader.
“We want to see this country take its right place in the world,” Clinton added.
Suu Kyi thanked Clinton and President Obama for reaching out to engage with the country and said, “Because of this engagement, I think our way ahead will be clearer and we will be able to trust that the process of democratization will go forward.”
The country’s civilian government has made steps towards allowing more freedom and rights to emerge within the country, however, Myanmar continues to face critical challenges in the future with regards to its human and minority rights record.
Persecution of religious minorities, namely Christians and Muslims, remains and the small glimmers of hope that the current government is providing do not guarantee that the Myanmar will continue onto a path of a more open and free society.
Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch has said that the test behind government policy changes will come “when Burmese citizens try to avail themselves of their rights.”
Pearson argues that human rights abuses including torture of political prisoners, repression, and atrocities against civilians in conflict zones have been as much characteristics of Myanmar's new civilian rule as policy reforms have.