ilar 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