Aid, investment needed to strengthen democracy in Myanmar: Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi stresses the problems of youth employment, calls for help in boosting democracy and invites socially responsible investment in Myanmar.

News | 14 June 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – In a landmark address to the ILO, Aung San Suu Kyi called for international aid and investment to help build a better future for Myanmar and highlighted the problems of youth unemployment.

“Foreign direct investment that results in job-creation should be invited. Investors should adhere to codes of best practices. Track records in regards to internationally recognized labour standards and environmental responsibility should be examined,” she told delegates at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.

“What I would like to see for our country is democracy-friendly development growth. I would like to call for aid that would strengthen the democratization process by prompting social and economic progress that is beneficial to political reform.”

Highlighting recent changes in Myanmar, she said that in addition to political reform “there has been considerable effort to effect positive changes in the economic sector.”

It is not so much joblessness as hopelessness that threatens our future."
Aung San Suu Kyi also highlighted the plight of jobless youth.

“It is not so much joblessness as hopelessness that threatens our future. Unemployed youth lose confidence in the society that has failed to give them the chance to realize their potential.”

She stressed the need to equip young people with the skills needed to enter the world of work. “Vocational training linked to job creation is imperative if we are to safeguard the future by giving our youth the capacity to handle effectively that responsibility that will inevitably fall to them one day,” she said.

In her address, punctuated by loud applause, she pointed to what she called the years-long association she and her party have had with the ILO.

“We cooperated to the best of our ability with the ILO and other interested organizations and individuals over the issue of forced labour and child soldiers.”

“The International Labour Conference is a pioneer and an example of inclusiveness. Delegates of workers and employers, as well as government coming together to find effective solutions to complex problems demonstrate the value of meaningful exchange between relevant stakeholders,” Aung San Suu Kyi said.

The May 30-June 14 ILC lifted its restrictions on the full participation of Myanmar in its activities and decided to review the progress on the elimination of forced labour in the country next year.

The Government of Myanmar and the ILO have agreed to a joint strategy for eliminating forced labour in the country. The government acknowledges the need for immediate action on this strategy with a view of implementing it before the target date of 2015.

Following her Geneva visit, Aung San Suu Kyi headed to Norway, Britain, Ireland and France.

She is the Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Member of Parliament in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

"Myanmar needs democracy-friendly development growth" (Video highlights of Aung San Suu Kyi's visit)