Voices for the release of Burmese activist and media person Thin Thin Aung are gaining momentum as five Nobel peace laureates have joined the chorus. Expressing serious concerns over the continued detention of the women’s human rights defender, the great ladies called for her immediate release by the military junta of Myanmar (earlier known as Burma).
It may be mentioned that Ms Aung was arrested on 8 April by the military regime led by General Min Aung Hlaing and taken to Yay Kyi Eating investigation centre. Later she was transferred to notorious Insein prison charging with action to spread news against the country’s stability under various penal codes of the southeast Asian nation.
If convicted, she may face up to three years in prison, said a statement issued by Tawakkol Karman (2011 Nobel peace laureate from Yemen), Shirin Ebadi (2003 peace laureate from Iran), Leymah Gbowee (2011 laureate, Liberia), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992, Guatemala) and Jody Williams (1997, USA).
“We are calling for all charges against Thin Thin Aung to be immediately dropped. We are also extremely concerned for her health as she suffers from chronic asthma and a liver condition – both requiring medication,” asserted the statement adding that her lawyer described Ms Aung as frail and hence she deserves urgent access to medical treatment.
One of the founders of the Women’s League of Burma, who has dedicated her life to working for democracy, peace, and human rights in Myanmar, Ms Aung began her career as a journalist with the BBC and alter she started Mizzima news agency in 1998 during her exile days in India. But at the time of her arrest, Ms Aung had already resigned from the Mizzima group for health reasons.
Since the military coup of 1 February 2021, the people of Myanmar have led nationwide mass protests calling for human rights to be respected, for an end to repression and arbitrary detention and the reversal of the coup leading to a new constitution for a functioning democratic State.
For these calls, and despite engaging in non-violent civil disobedience, thousands have faced violence, detention and extrajudicial killings, claimed the statement adding that women human rights defenders are at increased risk for courageously and truthfully speaking out against the coup and in defence of democratic institutions.
Calling for the immediate release of Thin Thin and all other detained human rights defenders, the peace laureates declared, “We stand with the people of Myanmar. We also call on the international community to show solidarity with them and demand an end to the detentions and the suppression of citizen voices. Action is needed now to ensure that charges against her dropped and the rights of Burmese people are upheld.”