Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday called on Thais to be kind to migrants and refugees from her country.
“We know it is not easy for Thailand to cope with the situation, but we would so appreciate it if you could do what you can for them,” she said in a phone interview with Bangkok-based Thai-Asean News Network.
Thailand has been sheltering more than 100,000 Burmese refugees for over two decades, and about 2 million migrants from the country currently have jobs in the Kingdom. Recently, more Burmese people have fled to Thailand as troops fight with armed ethnic groups along the border.
Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest early this month, expressed her gratitude to Thais for helping the Burmese people.
“We would like you to know that we wish to be your good friend and good neighbour,” she said.
She also spoke to fellow citizens in Thailand and promised they would not be forgotten, and that she would do what she could to bring them back home as soon as possible.
Suu Kyi also called on the government to not just engage with her country’s ruling junta, but also the opposition, which is working to bring democracy into the country.
“We would very much like all governments to engage with not just the government of Burma, but also with us,” she said.
The Burmese opposition leader, who won the Nobel prize for her dedication to democracy in a military-ruled country, is now trying to get her National League for Democracy (NLD) party to play a significant role in the country’s politics.
The immediate task, though, was for the party to re-register because officials dissolved it for failing to comply with the new political party law and refusing to take part in the November 7 election, she said.
Another task would be for the party to reach out to the younger generation and encourage them to play a bigger role in the struggle for democracy, Suu Kyi said.
The political atmosphere in Burma changed a lot while she was in detention and one of the most important changes was that the new generation was paying more attention to politics and joining the NLD, she said. The party plans to build a network of young people across the country and encourage them to work for democracy, she said.