Seek Justice for Human Rights Defender in Myanmar


Target: Dr. Tun Shin, Attorney General

Goal: Demand the immediate and unconditional release of Kyaw Hla Aung, a prisoner of conscience

Kyaw Hla Aung is a 74-year-old resident of Myanmar who has spent his entire life fighting for human rights. But police recently arrested him, and he is being held on trumped-up charges. Sign the petition and demand fair treatment for Kyaw Hla Aung.

Tensions have  been mounting in Myanmar over the status of the Rohingya, a community not recognized as an official ethnic group by the government. Along with this lack of recognition, the Rohingya are denied many civil rights, and their religious practices, marriages, employment, and travel opportunities are restricted in a number of ways. A recent government registration program in Myanmar did not allow Rohingya to identify themselves as such. Instead, Rohingya were forced to identify as Bengali, a term that many people feel is problematic and inaccurate as it “[implies] that all Rohingya are actually migrants from Bangladesh,” Amnesty International reports. The government backed down after widespread protesting.

As a well-known member of the Rohingya community, Kyaw Hla Aung worked with “other Muslim leaders to stop the protests from becoming violent,” although he was not directly involved in any of the protesting. Kyaw Hla Aung was in hiding after several other leaders were arrested for their roles in the protests, but he was recently discovered and arrested. He suffers from many health issues, including high blood pressure and gastric problems. According to reports, he has not been seen by a doctor since he was detained, he has not received any medicine, he does not have access to clean water for drinking or washing, and his family has not been allowed to see him.

An elderly man who has devoted his life to the non-violent pursuit of human rights should not live the rest of his life in a jail cell, sick and suffering. Sign the petition and demand that the government of Myanmar ensure that Kyaw Hla Aung is not ill-treated or tortured; that he has access to the basic necessities of life, including medical care, adequate food, and clean water; and most of all that he is released and all charges against him are dropped.


Dear Dr. Tun Shin,

I am writing to express my concern for the well-being of Kyaw Hla Aung, who was arrested on July 15, 2013. An elderly man with many health problems, he has not had access to the medical attention he requires. Furthermore, there are reports that he has not had access to clean water for drinking or bathing and that his family has not been allowed to see him. If these allegations are true, then Kyaw Hla Aung’s living conditions are far below the international human rights standard.

According to Amnesty International, Kyaw Hla Aung has been charged under Articles 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 150 (hiring or conniving at hiring of persons to join an unlawful assembly), and 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to a public servant to deter him from his duty) of the Myanmar Penal Code.” Given Kyaw Hla Aung’s history of nonviolence, these charges are suspicious–where is the evidence?

I demand that Kyaw Hla Aung is immediately and unconditionally released from custody. As long as he continues to be detained, however, I demand that he be granted basic human rights–healthcare, medicine, adequate food, ample clean water, contact with his family, and access to legal representation of his choosing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Zscout370 via Wikimedia Commons

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