Prestigious Human Rights Award for our Partner Women’s League of Burma

December 12, 2019

WLB receive the Human Rights Tulip Myanmar, December 2019

Today the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an IWDA partner for over a decade, was announced as a winner of the 2019 Human Rights Tulip Myanmar – an annual award from the Government of the Netherlands recognising outstanding and courageous human rights defenders.

“Women’s League of Burma stood out to us for 20 years of advocacy for the rights of all women in Myanmar,” said the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Myanmar, H.E. Wouter Jurgens, who presented the award to joint winners WLB and Thet Swe Win of Synergy.

As a federation of 13 ethnic women’s rights organisations, WLB is a shining example of the collective power of women. IWDA first partnered with WLB in 2007 on a joint project with the Karen Women’s Organisation to support training courses for emerging women leaders, and our partnership has since gone from strength to strength.

“Women’s League of Burma stood out to us for 20 years of advocacy for the rights of all women in Myanmar”

Not only is WLB one of Myanmar’s most prominent women’s rights organisations, but also a highly respected and significant player in the global movement for women’s rights.

“While the Women’s League of Burma is named for this award, this award belongs to all the victims and survivors of human rights violations, who have chosen to speak out the atrocities that they or their loved ones have experienced, despite the possibilities of further personal risks,” said WLB’s Naw Hser Hser. “They simultaneously faced their greatest suffering of human rights violations and their highest hope for justice and peace.”

She added, “WLB pledges to continue speaking out and speaking up on behalf of those who have been oppressed and tormented for too long. WLB will continue to expose all forms of discrimination, sexual violence and other human rights violations while making effort to bring justice for the victims and survivors.”

WLB’s Naw Hser Hser with Bettina Baldeschi, CEO IWDA

The Dutch Ambassador to Myanmar commented: “Human rights are always about people, all people. Both winners of this year’s Human Rights Tulip Myanmar have demonstrated that they can step over the boundaries of their own communities and build bridges. We need voices and human rights defenders who can reconcile differences and heal traumas in Myanmar’s transition to peace and democracy.”

“The Netherlands government regards human rights as an indispensable requirement for stability in a rules-based democratic order,” H.E. Wouter Jurgens added. “That is why we need people like Thet Swe Win and Women’s League of Burma, who dare to speak out, unconditionally and unequivocally, for human rights.”

An example of this was in 2016, when WLB underwent the immense task of preparing a Shadow CEDAW Report to provide the international community with a clearer picture of the state of women’s rights in Myanmar. Informed by the personal experiences of the women they work alongside every day, WLB and its sister organisations went to the UN to bring women’s rights in Myanmar out of the shadows.

“WLB pledges to continue speaking out and speaking up on behalf of those who have been oppressed and tormented for too long”

To this day, WLB strives to ensure this spotlight does not fade. Understanding power – where it resides, how to shift it – is crucial for change. WLB knows this, and has shown through its advocacy and lobbying that deep system change is required to transform women’s lives both at home and out in the world. IWDA is privileged to partner with this powerful organisation that is leading the charge for change.

Read more about WLB’s work here.

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