Investigative Report on Librarian’s Suicide Coming Next Month: MNHRC

YANGON—The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) said it will release a report on its investigation next month of the suicide of Myanmar librarian Ko Kyaw Zin Win, who took his life in the last week of June after homophobic bullying from coworkers.

The commission began its investigation on June 28, saying at the time it would take just a week, but when The Irrawaddy followed up on the report, MNHRC member U Yu Lwin Aung said the report will be released early next month.

“We are still doing the report. We have not yet received the post-mortem report about what drug he took [to commit suicide]. We have not yet fully gathered necessary information,” he said.

Ko Kyaw Zin Win, 25, had worked as a librarian at Yangon’s Myanmar Imperial University (MIU) since September 2017. He died June 24, after ingesting a large amount of pills the day prior.

The commission has interviewed 19 individuals, including the couple who own MIU, the manager who allegedly forced him to admit his sexual orientation at a work meeting, co-workers, relatives and the doctor who saw him after he became sick from ingesting the pills that eventually killed him, said U Yu Lwin Aung.

Before he died, Ko Kyaw Zin Win wrote a note to his family and friends on his Facebook page stating that homophobic bullying from his colleagues forced him to take his own life.  Sympathizers and LGBT rights activists have asked for an investigation and for justice.

MIU released a statement the following day saying it is investigating the incident and that it will cooperate with the police in their investigation as well.

On Monday over 100 LGBT activists sent a signed, open letter to MIU complaining about the university’s failure to inform the public about its follow-up investigation.

The letter was signed by LGBT rights groups including Equality Myanmar, Colors Rainbow and Myanmar Youth Stars, as well as individual LGBT activists, Director of Equality Myanmar U Aung Myo Min told The Irrawaddy.

“We are concerned because news on Facebook only holds people’s attention for a little while. A piece of news will go viral online but after a while people will forget it, so we just want to send out a reminder because we are concerned that those responsible have forgotten their responsibility,” said U Aung Myo Min.

The letter urged MIU to inform the public openly about its investigation, and about how it plans to respond to those it finds responsible for Ko Kyaw Zin Win’s death.

“The university should issue press releases continuously until the truth is revealed and action is taken against the perpetrators. We are concerned that the university is intentionally putting off [it’s investigation] so that people forget about it over time,” U Aung Myo Min said.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach an MIU spokesperson to comment on the letter.

Daw Poht Poht Kyi, the founder of MIU, told The Irrawaddy on June 29 that her university will release a report about the suicide’s underlying causes.

Irrawaddy News