27th June 2019
We are shocked and deeply saddened to receive the news from our friends and colleagues in Myanmar that Kyaw Zin Win, serving as librarian at Myanmar Imperial University – MIU, committed suicide in Yangon after being forcibly outed, harassed and bullied by co-workers in a brutal case of discrimination and bullying in the workplace motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.
Quote from the local activists in their statement released the day before:
“Kyaw Zin Win, who has been described in social media as “an accomplished, honest, down-to-earth and hard-working, young man” was a reserved person who had not disclosed his sexual orientation to anyone, including his family members. However, he was forced to come out to his supervisor at Myanmar Imperial University – MIU following feedback from third parties. This traumatic experience led to further attacks and harassment by co-workers on social media, who ridiculed him and his sexual orientation. Among such comments, a co-worker wrote on a Viber group chat “all of you, don’t become an imbecile like him”. Moments before taking his own life, Kyaw Zin Win exposed on his Facebook profile screenshots from other co-workers’ conversations suggesting he should be sent into the military, among other mocking remarks.”
At ILGA Asia, we want to reiterate the call by local activists to the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar:
- To protect the LGBTIQ individuals through the revision and enactment of relevant legislation in accordance with the provisions set forth in International Human Rights Treaties and Conventions that Myanmar has signed and ratified;
- To allocate resources to LGBTIQ specific mental health support services;
- To establish a policy on schools and workplaces to have a strong and clear written/informed policy on inclusion of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions; and
- To decriminalize homosexuality and enact anti-discrimination bill to protect the rights of the citizens of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
We also urge the government of Myanmar to bring the violators to justice, punish the bullying behaviors, while providing opportunities to educate them and general public on discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
As a regional network of LGBTI organizations in Asia, we would like to call for more exchanges, discussions, and collective actions among our memberships and allies on mental health support, prevention of suicide, and workplace discrimination against LGBTI employees. We are committed to raising more awareness and addressing these issues, particularly during our upcoming biennial ILGA Asia Conference in Seoul, South Korea.
ILGA Asia Executive Board