Oscar-winning actress and ActionAid ambassador Emma Thompson, who recently travelled to Burma (Myanmar) to meet Aung Sun Suu Kyi and see ActionAid's work in the country, today made a statement about the upcoming elections in the country.
"Wise, witty, visionary and compassionate - no one deserves the support of the international community and her country people more than Aung Sun Suu Kyi."
"When I was in Burma, I saw and felt first hand that for the first time in decades, there is a sense that real change, so long overdue, is possible."
"What is vital is that any serious and positive development includes every member of Burmese society, especially women and all the ethnic groups."
"During my visit to Burma with ActionAid, it was abundantly clear that the young people were utterly committed to working towards a free and fair democracy and that such a thing was very much within their power to create."
"Anyone with influence around the world, as well as all those within the Burmese government who support change, must help them mould the future they so richly deserve."
ActionAid International Chief Executive Joanna Kerr, who accompanied Emma on her trip to Burma, said:
"ActionAid supports a free, fair and multi-party democratic process in Myanmar. We welcome the recent signs that change is taking place in the country, and are hopeful that this signifies the beginning of real, long-term reform that will benefit the poorest people in Myanmar.
"We believe it is critical for poor people to be involved throughout the reform process, which must be consistent, coherent and properly phased.
"The international community should support the Myanmar government's efforts towards greater democracy and human rights – including the rights of women – as an encouragement towards continuing reform and to reducing poverty."