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Interview With Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams - 2003-04-27


Jody Williams was the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Ms. Williams visited Burma in February, carrying personal messages of support from fellow Nobel Peace laureates. It was the first visit to Ms. Suu Kyi by another Nobel Peace Laureate since she received the award while under house arrest in 1991.

Reflecting her meeting with Burma’s Democracy leader, Ms. Williams stressed that although Suu Kyi has been freed from house arrest, the policy of her party remains unchanged about foreign investment , “ She was very clear about that . While the regime keep signally rhetoric about not being opposed to dialogue whatsoever, unless and until that happens there is a need for the international community to continue its pressure on the regime. She made it quite clear Burma isn’t going anywhere … that the tourists can come to Burma when they are supporting a democratic state not a military regime.”

Ms. Williams has also been active in campaigns calling for stronger U.S. sanctions and for U.S. companies to divest in Burma. Ms. Williams also stressed that Burma has not joined the Mine Ban Treaty and that there are more landmine victims every year there than Cambodia . She noted Burma is one of the 13 countries that still produces landmines, 9 out of 14 states and divisions in Burma have a landmine problem and services provided to landmine victims are very minimal.

She said Suu Kyi stressed that to address the problem of landmines it is important to eliminate the root causes and not just superficially address the symptoms. Ms. Jody Williams is an eloquent and outspoken advocate for peace and human rights issues. She is one of the only ten women who have received the Nobel Peace Prize and only the third woman from the U.S. She has been honored around the world for her work related to ban landmines.

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