Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Suu Kyi to meet Burmese migrants in Thailand

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 14:42 Mizzima News

During her visit to Thailand to attend the World Economic Forum starting on Wednesday, Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Burmese migrants to see working and living conditions and visit a local National Verification Center, according to migrant worker advocates.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi wears France's highest civilian medal, the Legion d'Honneur, which was presented to her by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe at a reception in Rangoon in March. With her is senior leader Tin Oo of the National League for Democracy. Photo: Mizzima

She is scheduled to visit the National Verification Center in the Aur Arthon Housing Project in Thajin, Samut Sakhon Province, tour a shrimp market and meet Burmese migrant workers and their families at a migrant learning center.

Suu Kyi is expected to garner vast media attention at the World Economic Forum, which may have been a factor in causing Burmese President Thein Sein to cancel his attendance at the three-day event. He said he would come in Thailand soon at a later date.

The Burmese Minister of Energy U Than Htay will officially represent the government at the gathering.

An aide to Suu Kyi told The Bangkok Post that she would visit Samut Sakhon's Mahachai District, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrant workers.

The Nobel laureate may also visit a refugee camp in Tha Song Yang District in Tak province, opposite Myawaddy, Burma, and she may visit the Mae Tao clinic, and meet a group of exiled activists based in the province, said the newspaper. That visit has been tentatively arranged for Saturday.

Suu Kyi's talks with exiled dissidents who have worked closely with democracy forces inside Burma play a large role in determining whether the country’s reconciliation efforts have the support of the exiled population.

On Tuesday, the exiled Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) released an open letter to Suu Kyi, saying the Burmese refugee community in Thailand is “currently living with a great deal of uncertainty and worry due to the changing position of international communities regarding continuing support here and possible repatriation during these fragile peace negotiations.”

Part of KWO's focus is to conduct consultation with communities on the issue of return to Burma.

“Like you, we believe women have an important role in moving these issues forward as we have always had a vital role in maintaining and sustaining our community,” said the statement.

The KWO works in all seven Karen refugee camps and in Karen State.

“We have more than 49,000 Karen women who are members of our organization,” the statement said. “We provide services to our community like special education, safe houses for women who are victims of gender based violence, nursery schools, along with leadership development and women’s direct involvement in the peace talks.”

Leave a Reply