SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said she met pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma last week to share her experiences in Cambodia building up civil society in order to help promote human rights and democracy in Burma, which has been under authoritarian military rule for decades.
Ms Sochua said yesterday that she met Ms Suu Kyi at the Rangoon headquarters of the National League for Democracy, Burma’s biggest opposition force, when she traveled there with the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.
“I talked to her about NGOs in Cambodia,” said Ms Sochua. “She wants to build networks for women, farmers and youths, all sorts of networks that will help address the issue of democracy, because she is not hopeful the new Parliament will represent the people.”
The ruling junta staged elections on Nov 7 and installed a new National Assembly and government last week that is believed to be under the tight control of the military.
Ms Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest on Nov 13, and the NLD have no official political role in Burma after boycotting elections.
Yesterday, Ms Suu Kyi urged Western countries to keep sanctions on Burma in place, arguing the embargo affected the military regime and not the broader population, news agency Reuters reported.
Ms Sochua said Ms Suu Kyi was “very aware of our [democratic] space in Cambodia. She is a good friend of [SRP President] Sam Rainsy.”
She said although the situation of the NLD and Ms Suu Kyi was “very different” from the SRP’s position in Cambodia, she saw similarities. “I was very moved when I sat down in the office of the NLD. It’s very similar to the SRP office, and we struggle in the same way in many ways.”
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith dismissed any notion of similarities between the SRP’s situation in Cambodia and that of the Burma’s NLD, which he said had a much longer commitment to Burmese politics than the SRP and Ms Sochua in Cambodian politics.
“She just comes,” Mr Kanharith said about Ms Sochua. “She tries to exploit Aung San Suu Kyi” for political benefits, he added.
© 2011 – 2014, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.