Aung San Suu Kyi finally collects her 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought


Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters on Nov. 14, 2010 in Yangon, Burma. Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, now aged 65, had been held under house arrest for the majority of the past 15 years but has now finally been released by the country's military leaders. After the first elections in 20 years the military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is reported to have won the election.



On Tuesday, Myanmar parliamentary opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally picked up the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought she won in 1990.

When the European Parliament named Suu Kyi the winner of the award, she was living under house arrest in Myanmar, then called Burma. She was released in 2010.

The military has run Myanmar since 1962, but a new government headed by Thein Sein is introducing democratic reforms.

"We have made progress since 1990, but we have not made sufficient progress," she told an audience at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday. "Our people are just beginning to learn that freedom of thought is possible, but we want
to make sure that the right to think freely and to live in accordance with a conscience has to be preserved.”

"This right is not yet guaranteed 100 percent,” she continued. “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 in accordance with our conscience. That is why we insist that the present constitution must be changed to be a truly democratic one."

Suu Kyi is on her third trip to Europe since being freed from house arrest. She’s stopping in five European countries – France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

Her agenda includes urging European Parliament officials to push more forcefully for changes to Myanmar’s constitution, which she says stands in the way of true democracy.

The current constitution requires the president to have military experience and says the military must appoint 25 percent of the legislature. Myanmar’s military is all-male, which means Suu Kyi and other Burmese women cannot serve as president.