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Burmese women in exile honoured with Madeleine K. Albright Award

Originally appeared on: Burma News International

A US based organization promoting democracy gave the 4th annual Madeleine K. Albright Award to Burmese women for their efforts on promoting human rights and women’s participation in political movements in Burma… New Delhi (Mizzima) – A US based organization promoting democracy gave the 4th annual Madeleine K. Albright Award to Burmese women for their efforts on promoting human rights and women’s participation in political movements in Burma.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) at its awards luncheon on December 15 handed the Madeleine K Albright Award to Women’s League of Burma, an umbrella organization of 12 women’s groups from different ethnic backgrounds in recognition of its effective work on the participation of women in the democratic movement in Burma.

Burmese women in exile honoured with Madeleine K. Albright Award”Receiving the award will make the world communities, particularly the people from United States, aware of Burmese women’s activities in political movement in Burma,” Thin Thin Aung, Coordinator of Political Empowerment Programme, Women’s League of Burma told Mizzima.

The WLB is at present training women on political leadership skills, advocates women’s empowerment, inter-ethnic understanding, national reconciliation, peace and democratic reforms in Burma.

The NDI in a press release said that WLB will use the $25,000 grant for the present six-month political capacity building programme, in which young women from various ethnic backgrounds from Burma have enrolled. The programme is being conducting at WLB’s Women Leaders School in Thailand.

“The Madeleine Albright grant will make it easier for members of the Women’s League to stand with their sisters and brothers – with OUR sisters and brothers – in keeping alive the dream of a country and a government worthy of its people,” Madeleine Albright, NDI’s Chairman at the Democracy Luncheon said.

Madeleine Albright during her tenure as State Secretary in the Clinton administration strongly criticized Burma’s repressive policies and supported the role of the U.N. urging the Burmese regime to begin a dialogue with democratic opposition parties.

She also met Burmese democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997.

Madeleine Albright, in recently released report on preventing genocide, urged US, if necessary, to use military force to intervene in the human rights abuse committed by the Burmese military regime.

The report also labeled the existing situation in eastern Burma, where over 650,000 people have been displaced and some 3,500 villages destroyed as the Burmese Army continues with its attacks and coercive policies against local ethnic minority populations, as genocide.

Thin Thin Aung expected that Madeleine Albright will continue to press the world communities including a new Obama administration to be in office from next year and Burma’s neighbouring countries to push the Burmese military regime to speed up democratic reforms in the country.

“We expect that there will be more binding resolutions by the international community to pressurize the Burmese regime,” Thin Thin Aung said.

NDI today also presented the 18th W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award to Archbishop Tutu for his work on the democratic transition in South Africa and his advocacy for restoring democracy in nations including Burma.