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NOBEL

Aung San Suu Kyi to hold Oslo Nobel speech

The Nobel Committee has announced that Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver a speech when she visits Oslo in June to accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.

Aung San Suu Kyi to hold Oslo Nobel speech
Photo: Joon Granne Hetland/NTB scanpix

The visit is part of Suu Kyi's first trip outside Burma, also known as Myanmar, in 24 years.

"She will give the lecture on June 16 at 1:00 pm at the Oslo city hall," committee spokeswoman Sigrid Langebrekke told AFP, adding that Suu Kyi should arrive in the Norwegian capital on June 15th.
 
Langebrekke said Suu Kyi's full programme was not yet known, but that as part of her first trip abroad since she was released from house arrest in 2010 she was scheduled to meet Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
 
Suu Kyi, 66, confirmed last month that she planned to leave her home country for the first time since 1988 to travel to Norway and Britain, and was issued her first passport in two decades on May 8th.
 
Suu Kyi has long said that she would try to make her first trip abroad to Norway as a sign of gratitude for the support she received from the Scandinavian country during her years in captivity and to accept the Nobel Peace Prize she won 21 years ago for her peaceful struggle for democracy.
 
Her British husband Michael Aris, who died in 1999 while she remained imprisoned, and her two sons accepted the Nobel medal on her behalf in Oslo in 1991.
 
Burma's military seized power in 1962, ushering in almost half a century of repressive junta rule and isolation from the West.

The country has surprised observers with a series of reforms in the past year, and historic by-elections on April 1st saw Suu Kyi win her seat in parliament, which she is expected to take up on April 23rd.

Norway announced on Sunday that it had lifted economic sanctions against Burma following the recent reforms.

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NOBEL

‘No question’ of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize: Norway committee

Norway's Nobel Institute said Wednesday it had no intention of withdrawing its Peace Prize from Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi after a damning UN report termed the treatment of the Rohingya people as "genocide."

'No question' of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize:  Norway committee
Aung San Suu Kyi's husband Michael Aris and their sons Kim and Alexander Aris accept her Nobel Prize for her in 1991. Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsøn/NTB Scapix
“There is no question of the Nobel Committee withdrawing the peace prize,” director Olav Njolstad said. “The rules of the Nobel Peace Prize do not allow it,” he added.
   
A UN probe released Monday detailed evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity “perpetrated on a massive scale” against the Rohingya, including acts of rape, sexual violence and mass killings. 
   
At a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, a number of countries — including the United States, Britain, France and Sweden — called for Myanmar's military leaders to be held accountable. 
   
Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 when she was detained by the military for championing democracy and human rights.
   
She was only allowed to leave Myanmar to recieve the award 21 years later as the military apparently eased its iron grip on the country.
   
As the Rohingya crisis has deepened in the past year with the flight of hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh, Suu Kyi has come under increasing international pressure to speak out about their plight.
   
So far however she has said very little and steadfastly avoided any critical comment of Myanmar's military.
   
The Nobel Peace Prize committee had warned last year about the worsening situation in Myanmar and had urged all parties to do “everything possible to end discrimination against and persecution of minorities.”
   
Njolstad repeated that statement, adding: “This call is not any less timely after the UN report.”
   
The Myanmar government on Wednesday bluntly rejected the UN's findings.
   
“We didn't allow the (UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council,” government spokesman Zaw Htay said, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. 
   
He pointed to the formation of Myanmar's own Independent Commission of Enquiry, which he said was set up to respond to “false allegations made by UN agencies and other international communities.”