Pardon Men Arrested for Peaceful Workers’ Rights Activism

NIcolas Raymond

Target: President Thein Sein

Goal: Release four labor activists detained for assisting garment workers in a strike.

Four men–two activists and two union leaders–have been arrested and charged in connection with their roles in a garment workers’ strike in Myanmar. Their activities have been peaceful and nonviolent, and there is no reason they should be facing charges and jail time. Sign the petition and urge the president of Myanmar to pardon the men and protect workers’ rights.

Naing Zaw Kyi Win and Thu Zaw Kyi Win are brothers and labor activists who advised workers about their rights. Naing Zaw Kyi Win was arrested by plainclothes officers in the home of one of the striking workers, and Thu Zaw Kyi Win was arrested while accompanying workers to a protest. Both men are on trial for “inciting offenses ‘against the State or against the public’ under Section 505(b) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, with a verdict expected soon,” Amnesty International reports.

Myo Min Min and Naing Htay Lwin, two factory workers and union leaders, have already been sentenced to prison time for their roles in the strike. The charges against them–protesting without permission and violating the conditions of the permission to protest–have garnered them sentences of two and a half years each. They were arrested after giving a press conference to explain the workers’ demands.

With general elections approaching in Myanmar, now is a prime opportunity to appeal to leaders for justice. Freedom of expression is a universally-recognized human right and must be respected. Sign the petition and urge the president to pardon Naing Zaw Kyi Win, Thu Zaw Kyi Win, Myo Min Min, and Naing Htay Lwin.

PETITION LETTER:

Your Excellency,

I am writing to express my support for Naing Zaw Kyi Win, Thu Zaw Kyi Win, Myo Min Min, and Naing Htay Lwin, all of whom have been arrested and charged with various crimes in connection to their activism in protesting garment factory workers. I am very concerned that their right to freedom of expression has been violated, and I urge you to pardon them without delay.

Naing Zaw Kyi Win and Thu Zaw Kyi Win were arrested after advising workers on their rights and standing with them in protest. They have been charged with “inciting offenses ‘against the State or against the public,'” Amnesty International reports. They are currently on trial. Meanwhile, union leaders and factory workers Myo Min Min and Naing Htay Lwin have already been tried and convicted of protesting without permission and violating the conditions of the permission to protest. They have each been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Freedom of expression is one of our most basic human rights, and the freedom to peacefully protest is universally recognized. It is imperative that Myanmar bring its treatment of its citizens into line with international standards, and the first step toward doing so would be to pardon Naing Zaw Kyi Win, Thu Zaw Kyi Win, Myo Min Min, and Naing Htay Lwin immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond

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