President Thein Sein
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
President Office, Office No.18
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Phyoe Phyoe Aung, her friends and supporters have been unjustly arrested and I write to urge you to help gain their release. Throughout her life, human rights activist Phyoe Phyoe Aung has always been of service to others. Her father Ne Win is also an activist and was repeatedly arrested and sentenced for long prison terms under the military regime. She was one year old when her father was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in 1989.
On May 2, 2008 Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar and caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar. It was believed that the government, in an effort to minimize political fallout, stopped counting the number of dead after the death toll reached 138,000. As a result of this disaster, Phyoe Phyoe Aung and Ne Win started, an organization called “The Group that Buried the Dead.” The group organized communities in the collection of bodies for burial after the Cyclone hit Delta Region. On June 14, 2008, The State Peace and Development Council arrested Phyoe Phyoe Aung and her father for organizing the collection of the bodies of cyclone victims for burial.
They were charged on February 2009 under provisions contained in the “Unlawful Associations Act” that bans any “organization that attempt, instigate, incite, abet or commit acts that may in any way disrupt law and order, peace and tranquility or safe and secure communication…or…that attempts to, instigate, incite, abet or commit acts that effect or disrupt the regularity of state machinery.” Phyoe Phyoe Aung was also charged under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for making statements causing public mischief. She was sentenced to 4 years but was released after only 3 years in prison.
On March 10, 2015 Phyoe Phyoe Aung attended series of meetings with Ministers and various stake holders to discuss education bill and reform at Yangon. After the meeting, she and a number of concerned students and other supporters began a peaceful march from Mandalay to Yangon to protest a new National Education Bill proposed.
By all accounts, the Myanmar Police Force in Letpadan Township attacked the crowd and brutally crushed the peaceful march. As a result, Phyoe Phyoe Aung and scores of other students and their supporters now face lengthy jail terms. Some were held in solitary confinement and have limited access to lawyers.
I join the hundreds of thousands of human rights advocates around the world who call upon your government to:
- Release Phyoe Phyoe Aung and all the detained peaceful student protesters immediately and unconditionally;
- Ensure that, pending their release, they are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated; permitted regular contact with family members and lawyers of their choosing; and provided with any medical treatment which they may require.
I anxiously await your reply to my appeal.
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