Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi joined the world in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela on Friday, calling him a great man who “raised the standard of humanity”.
South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero and first black president died on Thursday at 95 years old.
Tributes began flooding in almost immediately for a man who was an iconic global symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.
“I would like to express my extreme grief at the passing away of a man who stood for human rights and for equality in this world. He made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born,” Suu Kyi said at a women’s forum in Rangoon.
“He also made us understand that we can change the world – we can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this reason I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being who raised the standard of humanity,” she said.
Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, jointly with former president Frederik Willem de Klerk, for their peaceful termination of the apartheid regime and laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.
Suu Kyi is also a Nobel laureate, honoured for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma.