Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa
Canadian Friends of Burma

Canadian Friends of Burma


October 24, 2011 17:44 ET

Media Advisory: Burmese youth leaders seeking release of political prisoners to visit Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2011) - The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Friends of Burma and CUSO-VSO are sponsoring a visit to Canada by two young Burmese leaders – Mi Aie Son, who works with the Mon Youth Progressive Organization and Aung Naing Soe, General Secretary of Nationalities Youth Forum. They will visit Canada over the next two weeks. (Bios attached.)

The youth leader/activists are calling for the Burmese government to:

  1. Release of all youth political prisoners along with all other political prisoners.

  2. Stop the oppression of democratic student and youth activists who are seeking freedom and human rights protection.

  3. Stop attacks in the ethnic areas.

  4. Begin an authentic dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and promote dialogue with democratic and ethnic forces to stop the root causes of current problems.

There are still over 2000 political prisoners in Burmese prisons living under extremely inhumane conditions. Growing up in Burma today leaves young Burmese subjected to human rights violations, especially in the armed conflict areas where there are increasing attacks by the Burmese army on ethnic groups.

WHO: Mi Aie Son, Mon Youth Progressive Organization
Aung Naing Soe, General Secretary, Nationalities Youth Forum
WHAT: Public presentation
WHEN: Ottawa Toronto Vancouver
Tues., Oct. 25 Wed., Oct 26 Sun., Oct. 30
6:30 pm 6:30 pm 2 pm
WHERE: Main Branch Ryerson University CUSO-VSO
Public Library Jorgenson Hall 1460 Howe Street
120 Metcalfe St. Centre Hub (POD152) Vancouver
Ottawa 350 Victoria Street

CUPE, Canadian Friends of Burma and CUSO-VSO are also launching a postcard campaign to increase pressure on the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners (see attached). Mi Aie Son and Aung Naing Soe will visit with the Parliamentary Friends of Burma, civil society and Human Rights organizations, university and youth groups in Ottawa and Toronto before participating in the CUPE National Convention in Vancouver.


Mi Aie Son

Mi Aie Son is an ethnic Mon from Burma. She was a Mon language teacher in Burma where teaching your first language is forbidden. Mi joined the Mon Youth Progressive Organization in 2003 as part of the Burma Democracy movement. MYPO operates along the Thai-Burma border.

In 2004 Mi was able to participate in the Altsean-Burma internship program that gave her the opportunity to build her skills and knowledge – an opportunity for education that she never had in Burma. She graduated in 2007 from the Foreign Affairs Training program conducted by the Foreign Affairs committee Team (FACT) in cooperation with the National Council of the Union of Burma.

During the 2007 'Saffron revolution', Mi led the campaign to distribute letters, pamphlets and DVDs about the crackdown by Burmese authorities on peaceful demonstrators. Many were arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. In 2008, they launched another campaign to raise awareness about the Burmese dictatorship's attempt at gaining legitimacy by adopting a 'constitution'.

Mi was chosen in 2009 to serve as chairperson and deputy director of programs for MYPO. Mi is working in cooperation with Mon Women's Organization's (MWO) on a Women and Child rights project, implementing workshops and training for rural women. Responsibilities involve project monitoring and training young activists to work with allied organizations.

In order to support the democracy struggle, MYPO has implemented capacity building programs for members, a women's Empowerment Program, awareness training on issues around land use and hydro dams, rights based education and campaigns, and the production of regular bulletins.

Aung Naing Soe

Aung has worked for over 13 years on human rights issues and youth empowerment on the Thai-Burma border. Since 2008 Aung has been the General Secretary of the Nationalities Youth Forum (NY Forum) a multi-ethnic youth umbrella organization representing thirteen different groups and eleven ethnicities from Burma. Aung is responsible for the overall running of the organization, including strategy, reporting, donor networking, administration and financing. The organization implements internship programs, provides training on human rights, the concept of democracy, federalism, ethnic issues and politics. NY Forum promotes regional and international networking with partners concerned with youth empowerment and indigenous rights.

Aung Naing Soe is an Arakan ethnic and worked as an assistant medical practicioner and student at the Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand from 2000-2001. He then became the office manager for the Arakan Liberation Party from 2002-2003 and also studied advanced English. In 2005 he was elected as the Arakan Youth Network Group General Secretary, responsible for coordinating activities inside of Burma, promoting/training non-violent action, community organization and human rights violation documentation.

Besides primary health care, nursing and English language education, Aung attended the Foreign Affairs Training School in Chiang Mai, Thailand and obtained an International Relations Certificate.

The Burma Postcard is available at the following address:

Contact Information

  • Marion White
    cell 902-393-4550

    Tin Maung Htoo
    Canadian Friends of Burma
    cell 613-297-6835

    Kelti Cameron
    Canadian Union of Public Employees
    cell 613-252-7170