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Ko Aung Lin, a 36-year-old famer and a member of the Mro ethnic group, lives in Ah Htet Myat Lay village, Ponnagyun Township, in Sittwe of Rakhine state in Myanmar’s far west. He is the only man among the 10 volunteers chosen in Rakhine for a joint project by UN Women and United Nations Population Fund to prevent violence against women and girls and help survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of the project.
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Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.
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We call upon Myanmar’s military and police to ensure that the right to peaceful assembly is fully respected and that demonstrators, including women, are not subjected to reprisals. We further call on the military and police to respect the human rights of women who have been arrested and are currently being detained and reiterate the calls for the immediate release of all detainees.
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Interview with Sandi Swe, volunteer at a quarantine centre, Myanmar
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Phyu Lin is a strong advocate for gender equality and human rights in Myanmar. For more than 20 years, she has been promoting the empowerment of women and gender justice in the peace process in the country’s civil and ethnic conflicts. “I have spent my adult life advocating for gender equality and human rights in Myanmar. With our ongoing peace process, it is now more important than ever that women are part of the decision-making. Without women’s meaningful participation in the peace talks, sustainable peace will not be possible..."
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At first, it was difficult for the women migrant returnees to settle into the quarantine centres and hold to physical distancing rules. Fear of stigmatisation of those who have stayed in quarantine facilities has also been a huge concern, so much so that some women hid or bribed taxi drivers to drive them directly to their home villages.
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To strengthen joint action on nationality rights, UN Women and UNHCR convened key women’s civil society organizations (CSOs), gender equality networks and women’s empowerment advocates from across Myanmar, representing diverse states, ethnicities, religions, transgendered persons, sex workers, networks of women living with HIV and women with disabilities, philanthropists, faith-based leaders and celebrities. Participants came...
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Khawng Nu* was 22 years old when she was trafficked from the state of Kachin, northern Myanmar, to China. There are few job opportunities in the conflict affected and impoverished state, so when a woman from her village offered her work in a factory in China, Khawng Nu happily accepted. Upon arrival in China, she discovered that her womb would be the ‘factory’. “They give pills to women and inject them with sperm for them to carry babies for Chinese men..
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[The broker] convinced my aunty that I could get a job in China. I had stopped school and was not doing anything, so I needed a job. She showed me a picture of a phone factory, and a shoe-making factory. But when I arrived in China in May 2017, they forced me to get pregnant. They gave me pills for 10 days to prepare the womb. Then I went for a medical checkup to see if my womb...
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Today, EU, ILO and UN Women are organizing a national Consultative Dialogue on women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities. The consultation will introduce the new ILO and UN Women “Safe and Fair” Programme to key partners and identify activities which could be undertaken in Myanmar building on the on-going efforts by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Settlement to promote safe and...
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Tin Moe Tun farms for a living, but he is also trying to cultivate something else in his little village: an understanding among the men that it’s not OK to demean and attack women and girls. The village is poor, and economic opportunities are hard to come by. Many of the men want to live ‘freely’ and don’t like outsiders telling them what to do, some of them find solace in alcohol and the social...
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She was a perfect target for human traffickers: an orphan, 20 years old, poor and with little chance to make any income, living with her siblings and grandmother in Yangon. So the woman left when a broker promised a job in Meiktila, in the Mandalay Region, about 518 kilometres (322 miles) north of Yangon by road. But when she arrived, she...
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It used to be very difficult at home says Soe Soe*, a quietly spoken, 16 year old Karenni refugee girl in the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Thailand close to the Burmese border.