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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs present Burmese pro-democracy activist with human rights prize

Jean with Aung San Suu Kyi

The European Parliament has presented Aung San Suu Kyi with the coveted Sakharov Prize, originally awarded to her in 1990, at a ceremony in Strasbourg.

London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert welcomed the award, which she said represented the EU’s commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and equality.

Ms Lambert, said: “Aung San Suu Kyi has been a resilient and courageous symbol for the advancement of freedom and democracy in her native Myanmar, and well-deserves this award in recognition.

“The Government of Myanmar has made significant strides towards real democracy and equality in recent years – and Aung San Suu Kyi has played a key role in making that happen – but there is still much progress to be made, especially in the way religious and ethnic minorities are treated.

“I hope this award, and the Parliament’s ongoing relationship with its Sakharov Prize-winners, help both the EU and the Government of Myanmar remain focused on making that progress.”

Accepting the award, Aung San Suu Kyi thanked MEPs for their support over the years: “Freedom of thought begins with the right to ask questions and this right our people in Burma have not had for so long that some of our young people do not quite know how to ask questions.

“We want to make sure that the right to think freely and to live according to our conscience is preserved. This right is not yet guaranteed 100%. We still have to work very hard before the basic law of the land, which is the constitution, will guarantee us the right to live according to our conscience.”

Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest before being released in November 2010.

This year’s Sakharov Prize was awarded to Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzi after Ms Lambert joined a cross-party group of MEPs in nominating her for the award.