DR. CYNTHIA MAUNG -- (Senate - December 15, 2005)
Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise today to call attention to the heroic efforts of Dr. Cynthia Maung and her Mae Tao clinic to provide hope on the border of Thailand and Burma. Dr. Maung, herself a Burmese refugee, has dedicated her life to helping those fleeing political and economic turmoil in Burma. Few Burmese refugees are granted official refugee status in Thailand, making it almost impossible to obtain healthcare, employment or education.
On the outskirts of the town of Mae Sot, Dr. Maung started a makeshift facility to treat her malaria stricken fellow refugees as they began crossing by the thousands into Thailand, following the Burmese junta's brutal crackdown on the democracy movement in 1988. Mae Tao is now a thriving clinic treating around 70,000 people a year. From providing maternity care and family planning to treating infectious diseases and fitting landmine victims with prosthetics, the Mae Tao clinic represents hope, safety and a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. This is a mission we should do everything we can to support.
Dr. Maung's tireless efforts have not stopped with the Burmese refugee population in Thailand, as she trains medical teams to deliver health services to remote villages in Burma. Unable to return to her homeland, Dr. Maung continues to be a fearless advocate for democracy and justice for the people of Burma--on both sides of the border.
We can and must do more to support this courageous woman, and her work to ensure that the refugee population in Thailand is granted basic rights, including healthcare and education, for all.