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Transcription of video address by D

The following is the transcription of the plenary video address by Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi at 13th International AIDS Conference International Convention
Centre, Durban in South Africa on 10th July 2000. SPDC Ambassador for South
Africa U Kyaw Thu also attended the Conference. The following is the full
transcription of the address by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Whenever I think of the issue of AIDS, I think of two basic things:
and compassion, I have discussed this with many who are working on the AIDS
question, that openness and compassion are the two most important elements.
Openness, which will help us to control the spread of HIV and compassion to
help those whose are already suffering from HIV. Openness is difficult in
many societies where topics to do with sex are considered taboo, people do
not wish to discuss them, people do not think it in good taste to discuss
such matters but we cannot  avoid discussion if we are to help those who are
already suffering from HIV and to prevent the further spread of HIV. The
question of HIV is not, in my opinion, a purely medical one nor is it, as
some would like to think amoral one, it is a social one, it is a human
question - it is to do with human relationships. I think that this is how we
have to approach the whole problem of HIV it is a problem based on human
relation and we have to  see this in a new way because HIV, the spread of
HIV is so rapid, particularly in part of the world - in South and South East
Asia that nobody can pretend that he or she will never be touched by this
problem. So that is openness, we have to talk openly about how HIV is
contracted, how we can control the spread of HIV and how we can help those
who have those have already contracted the HIV virus and for those who have
already contracted AIDS. And then of course welcome to compassion - the
desire, the tendency to discriminate against those who have HIV is the worst
killer, it is not HIV itself but lack of compassion and lack of information
that is making people die from AIDS. So, when we think of people with HIV,
we have to think of them exactly in the same way as you would think of those
who have contracted some other type of illness or disease that is difficult
to cure or that is not curable. That is to say we have to think of how we
can are for them medically, as well as emotionally because psychological
factors count a great deal where illnesses are concerned. In a society like
Burma where the majority of people are Buddhists we are taught that
compassion is one of the greatest emotions that any human being can harbour.
But how many people really exercise true compassion ? How many people in our
society are prepared to help those suffering from HIV? They are very few
prepared to work with those who are suffering from HIV, this is due to
prejudice as well as ignorance - ignorance because there are those who think
that simply by talking to somebody with HIV they will contract the disease
and of course, prejudice because they think that is only "bad" people who
contract HIV - I do not believe that there can be such distinction as is no
such thing as evil, there is only stupidity. In  the same way I do think
there are bad people are good people, I think there are people who are
prejudiced, there are people who are ignorant but there are people who are
open-minded, who are compassionate and there are people who are capable of
learning and those who are not able to learn easily. We need to be able to
learn quickly about the problem of HIV, we need to look  into the problems
of human relationships. I would like those who are concerned about AIDS to
use the opportunity to develop a more compassionate, a more comprehensive
view of human relationships-we should see the problem of AIDS as an
opportunity for us to deepen and broaden our understanding of fellow human
beings. We should not stop simply  at trying to control the disease  or
caring for those who have contracted it but as using it as an opportunity
for further developing  our humanity. Since coming across people who have
been in close touch of sufferers of HIV and AIDS, I have come to realise
that there is nothing more important  in this world  than compassion, not in
terms o power, not in terms  of morality, not in terms of principles, not in
terms of goodness,  just in terms of compassion. If each of us would try his
or her best to develop compassion I think ours would be a happier world -
whether we are looking at a political regime, whether we are looking at
victims of HIV, whether we are looking at the inhuman way in which  some
victims of HIV are treated. The most important thing is compassion. Human
rights and HIV are closely connected because human rights have to be based
on compassion. Rights without compassion, for me, is empty, it is nothing.
The only kind of human rights that have real meaning and real effect are
human rights based on true compassion. So, I would like to use this
opportunity, not so much to urge more research on AIDS - which I do urge,
that is important too, better care for AIDS patients, better understanding,
better openness but mainly for more compassion, more compassion for each
other, for everybody in this world. I would like to conclude by all  those
who are at this Conference to concentrate on the question of compassion,
whether we are dealing with human rights and AIDS or with the care of AIDS
patients or with the handling of the medical problems associated with AIDS,
the main ingredient is compassion. If we could develop more compassion in
this world then we would all have achieved a happier, more peaceful world.
This I would like to urge you to do - to concentrate on the development of

Aung San Suu Kyi