Refugee medical doctor receives human rights award

Human Rights Award recipient, Cynthia Maung, 2nd right, with, from left, BWA President Paul Msiza, Regina Claas, chair, Awards Committee and General Secretary Neville CallamHuman Rights Award recipient, Cynthia Maung, 2nd right, with, from left, BWA President Paul Msiza, Regina Claas, chair, Awards Committee and General Secretary Neville Callam

Cynthia Maung, a medical doctor who has spent nearly 30 years treating refugees who fled “oppression and repression in Myanmar,” was presented with the 2017 Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award during the global organization’s Annual Gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, in early July.

Maung was hailed as a “woman of faith” who “draws heavily on her Baptist heritage,” committing herself “selflessly to the welfare of the poor and oppressed.”

Originally from the town of Moulmein in Myanmar (Burma), Maung fled her homeland along with thousands of other Karen refugees. In 1989 she, along with six volunteers, established the Mae Tao Medical Clinic in a dilapidated building in Mae Sot, which lies on the border of Myanmar and Thailand.

 

The clinic, which has since moved to a more secure location, has grown to more than 600 staff treating up to 150,000 patients per year, including locals, migrant workers and refugees.

Maung and her staff helped to bring a malaria epidemic under control and treat outbreaks of pneumonia and other diseases. They tend to trauma victims of gunshots and landmines and offer maternity care and HIV counseling.

In addition to its medical services, where it trains medical interns, nurses and hygienists, the clinic addresses issues of domestic violence and human rights, and feeds more than 500 people twice each day.

Maung garnered a global network of more than 50 supporters, such as churches, NGOs, international organizations, educational institutions and individual donors.

She had previously received the Jonathan Mann Award, sponsored by Swiss and US health organizations, in 1999; Southeast Asia’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2002; the Sydney Peace Prize in 2013; and the South Korean POSCO TJ Park Prize in 2015. She was named one of Time magazine’s Asian Heroes in 2003.

Maung actively participates in the Kawthloolei Karen Baptist Churches and Asia Pacific Baptist Federation women’s work.

Baptist World Alliance®
©July 5, 2017