22 July : The pro-democracy Myanmar leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been conferred Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation in Durban as Burmese Prime Minister in-exile Thien Win calling on Indiaand South Africa to support their struggle for freedom.
Terming Suu Kyi as a devoted follower of Gandhi’s principles and moral values, Win said India and South Africa should support Myanmar’s struggle for freedom.
Win made these comments as he received the award on behalf of jailed Suu Kyi from the South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ebrahim Ismail at a function at the Durban City Hall on Monday night.
The award has been institued by the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation.
Win’s appeal evoked instant response with the Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province Zweli Mkhize, who was the guest of honour, saying “the people and government of South Africa fully supported the struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.”
“We will work with UN Secretary General and the UN to ensure that the elections in Myanmar next year is credible,” he said.
The Foundation also presented the Satyagraha awards to former activists involved in the anti-apartheid struggles.
The Foundation first initiated the awards in 2003 in order to honour those who had struggled for South Africa’s freedom and also international freedom fighters.