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Jailed Myanmar Human Rights Defender awarded by EU

27 March 2019

Gender and peace activist Daw Nang Pu is currently serving a 6-month prison sentence for her role in a peaceful protest

Nag Pu human rights defender from Myanmar

Nang Pu is currently serving a 6-month prison sentence for her role in a peaceful protest in 2018. Photo : Htoi

The EU has recognised the work of Daw Nang Pu, a gender and peace activist from the Kachin ethnic minority group in Myanmar. 

The Schuman Award, which pays tribute to gender, peace and human rights defenders in Myanmar, was awarded to Daw Nang Pu by the EU in Myanmar. Nang Pu leads Trócaire's local Myanmar partner organisation Htoi. 

Nang Pu is currently serving a 6-month prison sentence for her role in a peaceful protest in 2018 in support of internally displaced persons. Nang Pu has been assisting the many women affected by the decades-long conflict in Kachin. She is a vocal advocate for justice for survivors of sexual violence in conflict and of human trafficking. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony, EU Ambassador to Myanmar, Kristian Schmidt said, “If you want light, you must protect those who carry the flame – those whose light shines brightly from inside a prison cell or in house arrest". 

"The people of Myanmar know this better than I do. If you wish to end war and violence, you must have the courage to stand with those who rise against it. They should not walk alone.” 

Nang Pu's sister-in-law, Daw Nan Bawk, accepted the award on her behalf. 

The charges against Nang Pu and two other activists relate to statements they made at a peaceful rally and press conference in Myitkyina, Kachin State, in April 2018. This was following an escalation in fighting in early April 2018 between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an ethnic armed group in Kachin State. 

Pausa Kaw Shawng (70) fled fighting in Kachin State, Myanmar, and has lived in Bum Tsit Pa camp for displaced people for the last six years. Trócaire partner KMSS supports her family with food assistance. Photo : Yawng Htang

Over 100,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Kachin and northern Shan State since 2011. These displaced people have lived in camps for over seven years, still hoping for peace.  

Trócaire and its partners are working on women's empowerment in this conflict-affected area. Through organisations like Htoi, we are helping to raise the voices of women and are supporting them to become leaders and peace-builders. 

Trócaire is also providing humanitarian assistance to displaced people in the form of cash, food, shelter, water and protection services. We also work towards strengthening people’s resilience, so that people have opportunities to provide for themselves. 

Read more about the experiences of women in the Kachin conflict in Myanmar

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