John McCain at Mae Tao Clinic, Mae Sot

John McCain urged government to release political prisoners

United States Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) visited Thailand last month ahead of meetings scheduled with Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese government officials, a visit that included stops at the Mae La refugee camp and the Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot.

The former U.S. presidential contender told staff, patients and others assembled at the clinic that he planned to urge the Burmese government to bring real change to the country and free all political prisoners.

While at Mae Tao, McCain met with the clinic’s founder, Dr Cynthia Maung, toured the facilities and spoke with staff and patients.

“I am going to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the government. I will urge the government for change and for the release of political prisoners,” McCain told the assembled crowd at the Mae Tao clinic.

McCain visited Burma from June 2-3 and said following his return that though the Burmese government had expressed willingness for closer relations with the U.S. sanctions should remain in place until greater progress had been made on human rights issues, including the freeing of all political prisoners.

Prior to departing for Burma, McCain made a stop at the Mae La refugee camp, home to almost 50,000 refugees from eastern Burma, where he visited a camp hospital sponsored by Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI).

Mae La camp leader Saw Tun Tun said McCain had come to the camp to evaluate the condition of refugees.

“John McCain has come to the border to observe the situation of refugees before his visit to Burma. He met with the Mae La camp committee for about 20 minutes and … visited the hospital,” Saw Tun Tun said.

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