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Aung San Suu Kyi delivers historic first speech in Myanmar parliament

Suu Kyi spoke in support of Myanmar's ethnic minorities in a historic first parliamentary speech

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Pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi addresses hundreds of anxious Burmese supporters from the main gate of her family compound in Rangoon on July 14, 1995. (Manuel Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi gave her first parliamentary speech today, reports Voice of America, in a major milestone for the Nobel Prize winning politician. Suu Kyi was released from 15 years in detention in 2010. 

The internationally-beloved Suu Kyi called for stronger laws protecting Myanmar's ethnic minorities, including the Karen, the Rohyinga, Shan, and Kachin. 

"To become a truly democratic union with a spirit of the union, equal rights and mutual respect, I urge all members of parliament to discuss the enactment of the laws needed to protect equal rights of ethnicities," she said, as reported by VOA.

Read more from GlobalPost: Inside Burma: an end to the world's longest civil war? Not so fast

Myanmar's ethnic minorities made the news this summer in the wake of vicious sectarian violence in Rakhine state. Some good news for Myanmar's ethnic minorities has emerged this year, however: in April, president Thein Sein agreed to meet with Karen leaders, who have been fighting for self-rule for 60 years, reports the BBC. 

GlobalPost also reported today that Buddhist monks are advocating for discrimination against the Rohyinga Muslim minority group, a strange departure for the monks, who have also experienced oppression and violence for adhering to their religious beliefs at the hands of Myanmar's government. 

For the first time, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party has joined the mainstream in Myanmar politics, as the formerly closeted and oppressive nation begins to move towards a more democratic system, added Voice of America. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/myanmar/120725/aung-san-suu-kyi-delivers-historic-first-speech-my