Aung San Suu Kyi, the prominent Burmese politician, human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience who spent some 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar, is currently visiting Europe.
This historic trip – which includes stops in Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize and Ireland to accept Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award – is her first visit to Europe in more than two decades.
The following timeline highlights the organization’s relationship with the Burmese activist over the past several decades:
1988 After more than 20 years of military rule, tens of thousands march to demand democracy. Soldiers fire on crowds, killing an estimated 3,000 people.
National League for Democracy (NLD) formed, with Aung San Suu Kyi general secretary. The NLD has a policy of non-violence and civil disobedience.
1989 Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest, without charge or trial. Amnesty International adopts Suu Kyi as a prisoner of conscience
1990 Despite detention of Suu Kyi, NLD wins election with 82 per cent of parliamentary seats. Myanmar authorities refuse to recognise results.
1991 Aung San Suu Kyi is declared winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
Suu Kyi remains in detention.
1998 Suu Kyi makes a personal pledge in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as part of Amnesty’s Get up, Sign up! campaign.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, Amnesty launches a campaign calling on the Burmese government to end torture and release all political prisoners.
2003 Amnesty International granted access to Myanmar for the first time under an official visa.
2007 A new wave of public dissent begins, culminating with the monk-led peaceful “Saffron Revolution”, violently repressed by the authorities.
Amnesty International calls a Global Day of Action for Myanmar, with rallies in cities around the world.
2009 Aung San Suu Kyi is named the recipient of Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience Award.
2010 Amnesty International launches internet appeal to send 4,000 radios to Myanmar.
Main military-backed party claims victory in first general election since 1990. Opposition groups allege widespread fraud. A week after the election, Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
2011 March Thein Sein is sworn in as president of a new government. August Thein Sein meets Suu Kyi.
October Some political prisoners, including comedian Zarganar, are freed in a general amnesty. December NLD re-registers as a political party.
2012 January Many political prisoners are released, including student leaders from the 1988 protests Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi. April NLD candidates, including Suu Kyi, win 43 of 44 parliamentary seats contested in by-elections.
Amnesty International points out that there are still hundreds of political prisoners in Myanmar, that abuses continue, particularly against Kachin civilians, and repressive laws remain in place.