We call on Myanmar to drop all charges against the poet and PEN member Saw Wai immediately.
U Win Myint
President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Oslo, March 15th, 2020
President U Win Myint,
The Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee is deeply concerned by the ongoing prosecution of poet and PEN member, Saw Wai, who stands accused of defaming the military under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code, after speaking at an event in Kaw Thaung township, in the Tanintharyi region of Southwestern Myanmar. If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison. PEN International believes that Saw Wai is being targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and calls for the charges against him to be dropped.
I have myself met Saw Wai several times and he is an outstanding poet that Myanmar should be proud of. He has been important for the democratization of Myanmar together with NLD and should not be in prison but honored by the government.
Therefore, we are
- Calling on the Myanmar authorities to drop the charges laid against Saw Wai immediately and unconditionally;
- Calling for all laws that impose unlawful restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in Myanmar to be repealed or amended in line with international human rights standards;
- Urging the immediate ratification of international human rights treaties to which Myanmar is not yet a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Embassy of Myanmar in Norway