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Webinar Series: Listening to Voices from Myanmar 

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Webinar Series: Listening to Voices from Myanmar
Session 1: What Can ASEAN and Japan do for Democracy in Myanmar?

Since the military attempted a coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, the country has been thrown into chaos with over 2 million internally displaced persons as the military’s oppression and escalating conflicts with ethnic revolutionary organizations intensifies. The death toll from the military crackdown has already exceeded 4,000 people. While Japan is the largest aid donor to Myanmar, it has not exerted its influence in the correct manner, while continuing its Official Development Assistance (ODA) after the coup attempt and supplying public funds to businesses related to the military. Moreover, the situation in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities who have long sought autonomy and the voices of people with diverse backgrounds have not been well understood in Japan.

This webinar seminars is co-hosted by the #NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan, Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice. The webinar series intends to amplify voices of the people of Myanmar to Japan. We will discuss and hear ground updates, historical background of conflicts, situation in ethnic minority areas, and what the civil society from Myanmar expects from the Japanese government and society, featuring Myanmar activists and NGO staff as guest speakers.

Session 1: What Can ASEAN and Japan do for Democracy in Myanmar?

While the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been unable to address the crisis in Myanmar, the Japanese government has repeatedly expressed its support for ASEAN’s ‘Five-Point Consensus’ on Myanmar. Despite being over two years since the adoption of the ASEAN’s ‘Five-Point Consensus’, the consensus has achieved no significant results. It appears that the Japanese government has left the solution to the Myanmar crisis entirely to ASEAN and is seemingly avoiding taking an active role itself by proactively addressing the country’s human rights situation or on democracy, despite being the largest donor country to Myanmar.

This first session of the webinar series ‘”Listening to Voices from Myanmar”’ we will hear recommendations from Myanmar’s pro-democracy activists about the issues surrounding ASEAN’s agreement and the responses they wish to see from the government of Japan, offering us the opportunity to think about what responses Japan should take in the future.

In future sessions, the webinar series will consist of topics including the human rights situation in Karen State, Karenni State, Chin State, and highlight voices from minority groups as well as those who are taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar. Details of the second session and future sessions will be announced in due course.

Date and Time: December 13, 2023 (Wednesday) 19:00-20:30 JST
Where: Online Event
Language: English (with simultaneous Japanese interpretation)

Registration Form https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tCzU26VCTfK5rI9WSWfOpg

Speakers:

  • Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice
  • Thinzar Shunlei Yi, Action Committee for Democracy Development

Presenter Profiles

Khin Ohmar
Democracy and human rights activist, founder and Chairperson of Progressive Voice.

Khin Ohmar has been involved in Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement since her university days in 1988 as Myanmar students spearheaded a nationwide pro-democracy uprising. Since then, she has been working towards human rights, democracy, justice, and peace in Myanmar from abroad.

Progressive Voice is an advocacy and research group working towards federal democracy in Myanmar. It was born out of the work of Burma Partnership, a coalition of groups seeking democracy and human rights in Myanmar. They have a strong connection with grassroots organizations across Myanmar and act as a bridge to amplify the voices of Myanmar’s civil society to the international community.

Thinzar Shunlei Yi
Advocacy Coordinator for the Action Committee for Democracy Development.

Thinzar Shunlei Yi is involved in diverse activities to promote human rights and democracy. She works with the General Strike Committee, which was founded after the 2021 failed coup, and leads the #Sisters2Sisters campaign promoting solidarity among Myanmar women. She was awarded the Magnitsky Award in 2022.

Action Committee for Democracy Development (ACDD) is a civil society coalition formed in 2010 consisting of 14 grassroots networks including workers, ethnic groups, youth, and farmers. They conduct actions and campaigns based on a human rights approach, together with the network’s partners.

Co-organized by

#NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice