Newsmakers of the Year

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Aung Myo Min, Human Rights Activist and Director of Equality Myanmar

As a dedicated human rights activist, U Aung Myo Min is one of the foremost civil society leaders in Burma.

In 2012, he started Equality Myanmar, advocating for human rights across the country. He led the Human Rights Education Institution Burma (HREIB), which was established in Thailand in 2000. He trained active civil society members in human rights education and promoted international advocacy against the previous military regime’s human rights violations.

In 2013, he was able to return to Burma after having lived in exile for 24 years. Working inside the changing country, Aung Myo Min said, “We need to develop trust regarding human rights and work together. It is a necessity,” he said, highlighting that the country still needed to develop the mindset that working collectively for the good of society was necessary.

His colleague May Sabe Phyu regarded him as “a king of moderating,” who was friendly, responsible, and always there for others. His commitment to human rights development goes above and beyond, she said.

He urged the public to stand up for the human rights of others, and not to wait until those rights were violated. “We have to focus on advocacy on the national level in order to raise awareness and fight against the individual abuses such as child rapes cases,” he added.

Aung Myo Min is openly gay—which is seen as taboo in Burmese culture—and urges others to treat LGBT people equally. “LGBTs are human beings like others, who want to be treated with dignity and see their human rights protected.”

His work has been captured in the documentary This Kind of Love, which follows him as he returns home from exile. He has received seven international awards recognizing his dedication to human rights and was nominated for the United Nation’s N-Peace Award in 2016.

The Irrawaddy – English Edition

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