As Nobel peace laureates, we are deeply concerned by the continued detention of women’s human rights defender and journalist Thin Thin Aung and we call for her immediate release.
Thin Thin Aung was arrested in Myanmar on April 8, 2021 and taken to Yay Kyi Eaing Investigation Centre. Since then, she has been transferred to Insein Prison and has been charged with “spreading news to affect state stability” under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code. Thin Thin Aung’s court date has been set for this Thursday May 20. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison.
We are calling for all charges against Thin Thin Aung to be immediately dropped.
We are also extremely concerned for Thin Thin Aung’s health. Thin Thin Aung suffers from chronic asthma and a liver condition – both requiring medication. Her lawyer, after seeing Thin Thin Aung, has described her as frail. Thin Thin Aung needs urgent access to medical treatment.
Thin Thin Aung began her career as a journalist with the BBC and in 1998 she started Mizzima News Agency. At the time of Thin Thin Aung’s arrest, she had resigned from Mizzima for health reasons. She is also the founder of the Women’s League of Burma and has dedicated her life to working for democracy, peace, and human rights in Myanmar.
Since the military coup of February 1, 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 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.
And women human rights defenders are at increased risk for courageously and truthfully speaking out against the coup and in defence of democratic institutions.
We, as Nobel peace laureates, stand with the people of Myanmar and call for the immediate release of Thin Thin Aung and all other detained human rights defenders. We also call on the international community to show solidarity with the people of Myanmar and demand an end to the detentions and the suppression of citizen voices.
Action is needed now to ensure that charges against Thin Thin Aung are dropped and that the human rights of the people of Myanmar are upheld.
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Yemen
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Liberia
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – US