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After leaving Burma for the first time in more than two decades, Aung San Suu Kyi spent her first morning abroad in Thailand’s Mahachai district in Samut Sakhon province, which is home to an estimated 300,000 Burmese migrants.
Suu Kyi spoke in front of thousands of Burmese nationals in Mahachai, who took time off work today to catch a glimpse of the famed democracy icon.
During her brief speech, Suu Kyi promised to address the treatment of Burmese migrants during meetings with Thai officials later this week and also committed to improving conditions in Burma so that migrants could return home.
“Our ultimate aim is to create an environment in our country that allows our citizens to return home in peace when they want to,” Suu Kyi told the crowd.
“Also we have to protect, not only the Burmese migrants’ rights but also every workers’ rights, at our best within the boundaries of the law,” said the opposition leader. “Let me tell you that we will never forget you. We will address your concerns.”
Suu Kyi also met with Burmese community leaders in Mahachai and urged them to organise eprogrammes to educate the migrants in area on their rights.
Suu Kyi is scheduled to meet with Thailand’s former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva this afternoon at Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok where she is staying and plans to attend the opening of the World Economic Forum on East Asia this evening.
While the parliamentarian’s plans are not set in stone, she is said to be travelling north to Tak province later in the week, where she will visit several of the refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border.
Today also marked the anniversary of the Depayin Massacre, when Suu Kyi’s convoy was attacked in Burma’s Tabayin township by a government-backed mob that killed an estimated 70 people in 2003. As massive crowds gathered to see the famed icon speak, the nine-year anniversary passed without any mention.