Nang Charm Tong – Burma

Linked with our presentation of A Petition.

She says: “I told myself I had to do my best because I was the voice of the people and their suffering. I almost cried during the presentation, and time was so short, and my voice was shaking …” (Read on UNPO).

Read here about the World Pace Forum 2006 in Vancouver.

Nang Charm Tong – Burma

At age 16, Nang Charm Tong began working with human rights groups, interviewing sex workers, illegal migrants, HIV patients and rape victims. The following year, she spoke in Geneva on their behalf—and still speaks, in four languages, with the poise and confidence of a mature woman. (Read this long article on TIME).

Forum aims to give peace a chance – Thousands of delegates to spend five days in Vancouver discussing global challenges. (Read this article on NATIONAL).

She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Nang Charm Tong’s parents were so concerned for her safety in Burma that they sent their daughter across the border into Thailand at the age of 6, where she grew up in an orphanage – never to return home to Shan State. Over the years, atrocities against the Shan and other ethnic minorities by the Burmese military regime have produced a steady flow of refugees across the border. Nang Charm Tong, as witness to these women and children, began to advocate for their rights as a teenager. Now, at 23, she is a veteran activist and a winner of the 2005 Reebok Human Rights Award. (Read more on Christian Science Monitor).

In the past year, Nang Charm Tong was one of four international activists under 30 who won $50,000 Reebok Human Rights Awards. Along with several others from Myanmar, she was part of a group of 1,000 remarkable women from 150 countries who were jointly nominated for the Nobel Prize. Time magazine named her one of Asia’s heroes of 2005 in its Asia edition, and U.S. President George W. Bush invited her to the White House to meet him and several of his advisers — their interview lasted an hour. (Read the long article on UNPO).

She is Shan, an ethnic nationality in Burma. She spent her childhood, moving with her family from place to place within Shan State, in order to escape the repression of the military. Like Nang Charm Tong, many Shans have taken refuge in neighbouring Thailand. When she was seventeen, she testified before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the situation of people in Shan State. Her presentation made such an impact that she was chosen to testify again the following year. When she speaks, she never fails to move her audience with her honesty, sincerity and integrity. She was a delegate to the Winnipeg Conference on War-affected Children. She has also shared her experience with other youth from Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, Bosnia and Uganda in a project called Children as Peacebuilders, which explores the effects of war and conflict on children and youth. In 2001, she was nominated by Canadian Friends of Burma, an organization Inter Pares supports and collaborates with, to participate in a three-week intensive human rights course, given by the Canadian Human Rights Foundation in Montréal. Nang Charm Tong is a strong believer in the ability of young people to change themselves, their lives and the world. Inter Pares came to know Charm through her work on the Coordinating Committee of the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), an organization that Inter Pares has supported since its inception in 1999. Through SWAN, she has been involved in projects related to the trafficking of women from Burma into the Thai sex industry, violence against refugee women, and education services for the children of Shan migrants. Her fluency in English, Thai, Chinese and her native Shan has been extremely valuable to SWAN’s work. Charm’s involvement in so many activities, both local and international, reflects her deep commitment to the dream of an inclusive, democratic Burma. Her dedication and courage continue to inspire and mobilize everyone who works with her towards a more just and equitable world. (Read this on Inter-Pares).

BURMA NIGHT FOR THE LADY – The Vancouver Burmese Roundtable hosts an event in honour of imprisoned Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, featuring speeches by human-rights activist Nang Charm Tong and author Edith Mirante, plus traditional Burmese dancing, food, and handicrafts, was held on June 17, 2006. (See on straight.com).

She is the Marie Claire 2004 Women of the World Award.

links:


Peace Forum questions role in Afghanistan
;

See her short video on Amnesty International;

BBC women’s hour;

Beyond Intractability;

the connection;

Victims of a stalled revolution.

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