Free Nilar Thein!
September 22, Women’s League of Burma
Call for the immediate release of Burmese democracy activist Nilar Thein
Nilar Thein, a woman human rights defender and leading pro-democracy
activist was arrested on 10 September 2008 and is currently being held at
the Aung Tha Pyay Detention Centre in Rangoon, where she is at risk of
torture and ill-treatment. WLB urgently appeals for her release and
demands that the SPDC treat her humanely.
Nilar Thein is a prominent 1988 generation student leader who led peaceful
protests in August and September 2007. As a result, she was forced into
hiding because of the junta's brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors in
Rangoon and other cities. She is one of the Czech Republic's Homo Homini
award winners for her promotion of democracy, human rights and nonviolent
solutions to political conflicts.
Nilar Thein has been imprisoned twice before; she was detained for two
months in 1991 and then spent nine years in jail from 1996-2005 for her
political activities. Her husband, Kyaw Min Yu (or Jimmy) has spent the
past 16 years in prison after participating in the 1988 pro-democracy
uprising and is currently being held in the notorious Insein Prison.
Following Jimmy's arrest, and Nilar's fleeing the junta's crackdown, their
4-month-old baby was placed in the care of family members.
Whilst in hiding, Nilar Thein continued to issue public appeals calling
for the international community and the UN Human Rights Security Council
to take action in resolving the grave human rights abuses that women
suffer from under the military regime in Burma. WLB is gravely concerned
for Nilar Thein's safety given the regime's notoriously vindictive
treatment of prominent activists. On September 12, 2008 Amnesty
International issued an Urgent Appeal for Nilar Thein, expressing concern
that she may "face torture and ill treatment."
The UN Declaration of Human Rights (specifically Article 1) states that:
"Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to
promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights
and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels."
We call on activists around the world to urge their government to call for
the immediate and unconditional release of Nilar Thein!
Women's League of Burma: www.womenofburma.org
21 September 2008