December 6, 2019 / 12:41 AM / 7 months ago

An icon's journey: Aung San Suu Kyi's life in troubled Myanmar

(Reuters) - On Tuesday, World Human Rights Day, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will fight accusations of genocide brought against her country at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

FILE PHOTO: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her Nobel acceptance speech during a ceremony at Oslo's City Hall, Norway June 16, 2012. Daniel Sannum Lauten/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Myanmar has been called to answer for alleged atrocities committed during a military-led crackdown two years ago that saw more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The case has been filed with the court by Gambia.

This timeline charts Suu Kyi’s journey from political prisoner to leader of her troubled nation:

June 19, 1945: Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero General Aung San, is born. Her father is assassinated when she is 2 years old.

1988: She returns to Myanmar to care for her dying mother and is swept up in nationwide protests against decades of military rule.

1989: Having crushed the protests and killed thousands, the military puts Suu Kyi under house arrest.

1991: While detained in her lakeside home in Yangon, she wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1995: She is released and regularly speaks to large crowds outside her gates.

1999: Her husband, British scholar Michael Aris, dies of cancer. Suu Kyi had chosen not to leave Myanmar to see him in case the junta blocked her return.

2000: She is detained again for 19 months.

2003: Pro-junta thugs attack her and kill several of her supporters. Afterwards, she is placed under her last and longest spell of house arrest.

2007: A dramatic rise in fuel prices triggers anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks called the “Saffron Revolution”. Flanked by riot police, Suu Kyi briefly greets monks at the gates of her home, energizing the demonstrations, which are soon quashed by the military.

2010: A party created by the military wins a general election by a landslide. Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), boycotts the poll, saying the laws governing it are “unjust”.

The military then installs a quasi-civilian government led by former general Thein Sein. A few days later, Suu Kyi is released to global jubilation.

2012: Most Western sanctions on Myanmar are scrapped, as Thein Sein lifts censorships, frees hundreds of political prisoner and launches a series of reforms.

April 2012: Suu Kyi decides to contest by-elections. Her NLD party wins 43 of the 44 parliamentary seats it contests.

May 2012: Suu Kyi takes her place in Myanmar’s parliament in the capital, Naypyitaw.

Early June 2012: Clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state kill at least 80 people. Thousands of homes are burned down. With parts of the state capital Sittwe still smoldering, Suu Kyi departs on a five-nation tour of Europe.

Oct. 2012: The Rohingya bear the brunt of a second, deadlier bout of violence in Rakhine state, but Suu Kyi refuses to speak up for them.

“Now, if I were to take sides in the situation ... it would create more animosity between the two communities,” she tells the BBC in an interview aired in January 2013. “Violence has been committed by both sides.”

Nov. 2015: The NLD wins a general election by a landslide and Suu Kyi assumes power in a specially created role of state counselor.

FILE PHOTO: Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi walks off the stage after delivering a speech to the nation on the Rakhine and Rohingya situation, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

Oct. 2016: Rohingya militants attack three police border posts in northern Rakhine, killing nine police officers. Myanmar’s military then carry out a security operation, resulting in some 70,000 people leaving Rakhine for neighboring Bangladesh.

Aug. 25, 2017: Rohingya militants launch attacks across northern Rakhine State, triggering a military-led campaign that drives more than 730,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh.

Sept. 19, 2017: Suu Kyi addresses the Rakhine crisis in a speech in Naypyitaw, saying military operations are over, as Rohingya flee and villages burn. She faces mounting international criticism for her response to the crisis.

Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Alex Richardson

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