Despite no show, Suu Kyi supports refugees concerns over ration cuts

Despite Burma’s, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lightening fast trip to Mae La Refugee camp in Tak Province, Thailand, the pro-democracy leader still managed to come out fighting on behalf of the camp residents.

Suu Kyi, surrounded by Thai security, was unable to meet the thousands of refugees who had gathered at the camp’s football ground in the hope of hearing and seeing their political idol.

Thai authorities whisked Suu Kyi in a motor convoy to a meeting with staff from Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and members of the camp committee.

An official who attended the meeting spoke to Karen News.

“The main points she [Suu Kyi] raised at the meeting were that she would try to work on the getting the recent cuts to the refugees and she will work for the safe return of refugees back to their own lands.”

Aung San Suu Kyi also said that she wanted the refugees to understand they were in her thoughts.

“I would like them to understand that we are not going to forget and that we will do everything possible to make their situation better.”

When she was asked about the possibility of the refugees return to Burma, she pointed out that the primary conditions for doing so would be first to establish peace and to improve the economic situation in Burma to ensure there were enough jobs.

“I don’t think we need to return the refugees overnight. If the situation was right, refugees would go back of their own free will.”

She said young refugees should also look at what they can contribute to improve their country if they were to return home.

“I’m old fashioned. I believe in duty and would like the young people to foster a sense of duty.”

A camp official told Karen News that he estimated the crowd gathered at the in Zone B football ground, to be 5,000 who had come to welcome Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi visited the camp’s main hospital that is supported by Aide Medicale Internatioanle’ where she also took lunch.

When Suu Kyi finally managed to speak publically it was without the aid of a microphone. A member of the local media contingent, who managed to evade the tight security blanket that the Thai officials had thrown around Suu Kyi, told Karen News.

“There were so many security personnel surrounded Daw Suu, it was almost impossible to get close enough to hear or photograph her. It was not easy for the foreign press either. Many were escorted from the camp by Thai security. Only the Thai journalists seemed to be wearing the green press card – it looked like the event was managed to restrict access to M’s Suu Kyi.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi left Mae La refugee camp at around 1pm and arrived back to Mae Sot airport at 2pm. All plans for Suu Kyi to visit Mae Tao Clinic were canceled by Thai security. This disappointed the hundreds of factory workers, school children and patients who had waited at the Clinic from 7am to 2pm in the hope of catching sight of their hero. Aung San Suu Kyi next stop on her first trip outside Burma in 24 years, will be Europe where it is expected she will receive her Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1991.

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