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Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to address U.S. Congress on Myanmar conditions

By the CNN Wire Staff
Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to testify via video about conditions in her nation.
Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to testify via video about conditions in her nation.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi will testify via video Wednesday to a U.S. House subcommittee
  • A U.S. congressman says the hearing will highlight "sham elections" in Myanmar
  • Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was freed last year from house arrest
  • She has been fighting for democracy for decades in Myanmar

(CNN) -- Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will address members of the U.S. Congress this week, a rare foray into American politics for a woman who is lauded internationally even as she struggles to be heard in her native Myanmar.

Suu Kyi will not be in Washington for Wednesday's hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' subcommittee focused on Asia and the Pacific. But she will testify via video about conditions in her nation, including on recent elections that drew widespread criticism, U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo said Monday in a statement. Myanmar is also known as Burma.

"This hearing will highlight these sham elections and Burma's difficult road ahead," Manzullo, R-Illinois, said. "I am excited to share the videotaped testimony of (Suu Kyi) so everyone can hear of the junta's continued military offenses against ethnic groups and the dire human rights situation in Burma."

The daughter of Gen. Aung San, a hero of Burmese independence, Suu Kyi repeatedly challenged Myanmar's long-time military junta and promoted democracy over the years. Her efforts helped her win the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, while making her a target of Myanmar's regime and leading to her decades-long detention.

Last November, Myanmar held its first elections in 20 years. The vote drew fire from critics who said it was aimed at creating a facade of democracy. The regime had refused to allow international monitors or journalists into Myanmar for the vote.

Members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party were among those who boycotted the vote, describing it as a sham.

But shortly afterward, on November 13, the Nobel laureate was released from house arrest -- having spent most of the past 20 years under house arrest or in prison.

Since being freed, Suu Kyi has largely remained in Myanmar with some exceptions -- like an address last January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in which she urged the world's political and business elite not to forget the people of Myanmar as they rebuild the global economy.

Earlier this month, Sen. John McCain traveled to Asia and met with Suu Kyi -- whom he called "a personal hero of mine for decades." During his talks, he said that he promised U.S. support for her efforts to promote democracy.