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Suu Kyi.


HUAIROU, Thursday: The International Women's Conference opened here today 
with an appeal from Burma's Nobel Peace Laureater, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, 
for women to learn from the recent experience of her country.

"The adversities that we have had to face together have taught all of us 
involved in the struggle to build a truly democratic system in Burma that 
there are no gender barriers that can't be overcome," the recently freed 
political activist said in a videotaped message smuggled out of Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi was released by Burma's military leaders last month after six 
years under house arrest for her role in leading the country's democracy 

Calling on women to help bring greater peace and tolerance to the world, 
Ms Suu Kyi told the estimated audience of 3,000 that she decided not to 
attend for fear that she would not be allowed back into the country.

"It is not the prerogative of men alone to bring light to this world," 
she said.

"Women - with their capacity for compassion and self-sacrifice, their 
courage and perseverance - have done much to dissipate the darkness of 
intolerance and hate."

Her sppech was almost upstaged by a demonstration by Amnesty 
International outside the Huairou International Convention Centre.

Billed as Amnesty's first demonstration on Chinese soil, it was held 
within the confines of the United Nations-designated conference area and 
was consequently ignored by nervous Chinese authorities.

Delegates to the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Forum have been told 
they can demonstrate within the boundaries of the two convention sites.

About 20 activists from Amnesty held up posters and displayed pictures of 
12 women - two of them Chinese - said to be victims of human rights 
abuses. The two Chinese women are a journalist, Gao Yu, and a Tibetan 
nun, Phuntsog Niydrou. Gao was jailed for six years for giving 
information deemed to be a State secret to a Hong Kong newspaper. Niydrou 
was jailed for 17 years in 1989 for taking part in anti-Chinese 

Today marks the start of the 10-day NGO forum which runs parallel to the 
official United Nations World Conference on Women, which begins on Monday.

The meeting at Huairou is by far the bigger of the two and, despite the 
confusion about seminar sites and long lines at lunchtime for food, 
things appeared to be running reasonably smmothy.

Herald Correspondent.

(THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Friday, September 1, 1995, page 9)