Suu Kyi to visit refugee camp

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to visit Mae La refugee camp on Saturday June 2, located in Thailand’s Tak province an organizer of her confirmed to Karen News.

Colonel Eh Kaw Htoo, commander of the KNLA/KNU Peace Council Border Security Special Forces told Karen News.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Mae La refugee camp on June 2, to see for herself the situation how her people are living as refugees.”

Col. Saw Eh Kaw Htoo said he had arranged for Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to the Mae La refugee camp, as many as 97% of the residents are Karen. Saw Eh Kaw Htoo said it is expected, but yet to be confirmed, that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with members of the Burmese communities in Mae Sot including Dr. Cynthia Maung.

Saw Tun Tun, chairman of Mae La Refugee Camp Committee explained to Karen News that everyone in the camp are aware of the visit, but he was unsure if the Thai authorities had been officially told of Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s trip.

“So far the Thai authorities have not informed us about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to our camp. We will confirm with Thai authorities this evening.”

The Thai Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) estimates Mae La refugee camp is home to more than 44,894 refugees.

Speaking to reporters before she left Rangoon for her first international trip in 25 years, Aung San Suu Kyi said she planned to stay in Thailand “for four or five days” and will “visit one refugee camp”.

The Karen Women Organization (KWO) also invited Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to visit the Karen Refugee camp during her trip to address World Economic Forum in Bangkok.

The KWO sent an open invitation to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We would like to extend an invitation to you to visit a refugee camp on the Burma border so that our community can share with you our hopes and concerns about returning to Burma.”

“The refugee communities are currently living with a great deal of uncertainty and worry due to the changing position of the international community and repatriation during the current fragile peace negotiations.”

Nan Dah Eh Kler, Secretary of KWO told Karen News.

“KWO would like to discuss with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi about the repatriation of refugees and to provide her with women’s views on the KNU’s ‘peace talks’.”

The KWO works in all seven Karen refugee camps in Thailand and inside Karen State to provide education, safe houses for women, nursery schools, women’s leadership and development training and to have women’s direct involvement in the peace talks.

“We have a lot of concern about the reparation of refugees. It is only the beginning of the cease-fire talks and there has not been any concrete solutions put in place yet. The government troops have not withdrawn in our areas and there are still many landmines there. There is no stability for people to return.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s European travel plans include an address to an International Labour Organization conference in Geneva. She will make a speech in Oslo to finally accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.
She also intends to travel to Britain and address the country’s parliament.

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