Veteran Student Activist Named as Citizen of Burma Award Winner

By Nyein Nyein 8 June 2015

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Detained student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who is currently on trial for her participation in the Letpadan student protests, has been announced as winner of this year’s Citizen of Burma Award.

The annual award, established in 2010, honors individuals or community organizations who devote themselves to the welfare of the people of Burma.

“We selected Phyoe Phyoe Aung for her dedication to education reform, leading an effective movement and being a good role model for other citizens,” Win Thu Aung, the vice chair of the Citizen of Burma Award organization, told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

Phyoe Phyoe Aung, 27, has been detained in Thayawady Prison since Mar. 10, after the police crackdown on student protesters in Letpadan who were leading the call for revisions to the National Education Law. She faces a maximum sentence of nine and a half years for her involvement in the demonstration.

A veteran activist and member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) central committee, Phyoe Phyoe Aung was arrested in 2008 on her return to Rangoon from relief work in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, eventually spending three years in prison for her role in the Saffron Revolution protests.

Special recognition awards will also be presented to Zaw Zaw, a young librarian from Mandalay who has opened a small library in the city, and Dr. Nanda Win, from Irrawaddy Division’s Ingapu Township, who earlier this year initiated a low cost food program for poor families in the area.

The award ceremony will be held on June 14 at the Royal Rose restaurant, in Rangoon’s Bahan Township. Organizers said that Phyoe Phyoe Aung’s family and fellow ABFSU members will be present to receive the award on her behalf.

Past recipients of the award include Daw Shu, who assisted monks imprisoned during the Saffron Revolution, Kachinland News website founding editor Laphai Naw Ming, and Free Funeral Service Society founder Kyaw Thu.