Remarks by President Obama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma in Joint Press Conference | November 14, 2014

Remarks by President Obama and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma in Joint Press Conference | November 14, 2014

Obama: People need to feel safe in their homes and not be subject to arbitrary harassment by authorities or individuals acting with impunity.  People need to be empowered to pursue their dreams.

We spoke about how we can work together to promote national reconciliation and defuse sectarian tensions among Burma’s diverse ethnic groups.  Specifically, I stressed the need to find durable and effective solutions for the terrible violence in Rakhine state — solutions that end discrimination, provide greater security and economic opportunities, protect all citizens, and promote greater tolerance and understanding.  Strengthening human rights protections for all of Burma’s people is an essential step to realizing the vision we share for the future of this beautiful country.


As a member of parliament and the head of the rule of law committee, Aung San Suu Kyi is working hard to make government more transparent, more accountable, to protect the rights of all the Burmese people, to promote reforms that would expand the political space for more people to contribute their voices.


DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI:  Who’s speaking?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’ll go first.  Christi Parsons.


DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI: Who’s speaking?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll go first. Christi Parsons.>>>>And if I may, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ask you — how concerned are you about the violence against ethnic minorities in your country, and specifically the Rohingya people? And what do you believe is your responsibility to speak out about it? Thank you very much.

A really shameful…PATHETIC answer of DASSK, AVOIDING HER RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEAK for the Genocide of Rohingyas…>>>DAW AUNG SAN SUI KYI: The National League for Democracy always has been against violence of any kind, either on the racial grounds, or religious grounds, or ideological grounds. We do not believe that violence really results in (inaudible).

Our struggle for democracy has been carried out with a strong grasp on the principle of nonviolence. And also, we believe in the rule of law. So if you ask how do we propose to resolve all of these problems of violence between communities, between different ethnic groups, we’ve got to start with rule of law. People have to feel secure before they can start talking to one another. We cannot achieve harmony without security. People who feel threatened are not going to sit down and sort out their problems.So I would like to recommend, as the chair of the Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee — don’t forget that tranquility is also included — that the government should look to rule of law. It is the duty of the government to make all our people feel secure, and it is the duty of our people to learn to live in harmony with one another.

If we want democracy, we have to be prepared to live by the principles of democracy. We have to dare to live according to the principles of democracy. I think we’ll get there, but it will take us some time. But we will remain fully committed to the principle of nonviolence.

Number four, I indicated that we are paying attention to how religious minorities are treated in this country.  Now, I recognize the complexities of the situation in Rakhine state.  On the other hand, consistent with what Daw Suu just said, I am a firm believer that any legitimate government has to be based on rule of law and a recognition that all people are equal under the law.  And discrimination against the Rohingya or any other religious minority I think does not express the kind of country that Burma over the long term wants to be.  And I know of no successful democracy in which sectarian or religious divisions are allowed to fester, or the people of different faiths are treated as second-class citizens.  Ultimately, that is destabilizing to a democracy.

U.S. Embassy Rangoon shared a link.
“Strengthening human rights protections for all of Burma’s people is an essential step to realizing the vision we share for the future of this beautiful country.” — President Obama during the Joint Press Conference at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence on November 14.

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