August 9, 2014
A Rohingya activist, a Mon activist and a women’s rights advocacy group were the recipients of awards from N-Peace Network, an international advocacy group that supports women’s leadership in conflict resolution.
Wai Wai Nu, a former political prisoner and the director of Women Peace Network Arakan, was awarded N-Peace Network’s “Peace Generation – Young Women and Men Building Peace” award; while Mi Khin Khin Kyu, an ethnic Mon who advocates for women’s rights in Mon State and other parts of Burma, was recognised in the category of “Women Transforming their Communities”.
In addition, Democracy and Peace Women Network was recognised for “Thinking Outside the Box”, an award for bringing new solutions to persistent problems.
Naw Ohn Hla, leader of the Democracy and Peace Women Network, said that her work involves educating farmers and workers about their rights when it comes to land issues – a problem stemming from the extensive land grabbing by Burma’s former military regime. Her organisation also provides assistance to women.
“We also provide as much assistance as we can for women in the workplace,” Naw Ohn Hla said. “Today, farmers and workers in Burma have no peace in life and we will continue to strive to bring about peace in the country.”
Sentenced to prison with her family when she was 18 for pro-democracy activities, Wai Wai Nu was released in 2012 after seven years. Since then, she has been working to build more understanding among Burma’s different ethnicities and has campaigned to end persecution of Rohingyas in Burma.
She said that she is honoured to receive the award and hopes that such recognition would bring more attention to Rohingya issues and the anti-Muslim sentiments they face.
“I think this is a starting point and I could be a more effective voice to the wider community,” Wai Wai Nu told DVB. “I hope that the issues will get more attention from the general public.”
The winners were announced on 31 July, and the awarding ceremony will take place in Bangkok in October.