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(Rangoon, Burma, September 22, 2013) - The first Myanmar Women’s Forum, jointly organized by the Women’s Organizations Network (WON) and the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), was successfully held in Excel Treasure Hotel, Bahan, Yangon from 20th-22nd September 2013. Over 400 participants attended the forum; made up of a diversity of ethnic women from State and Regionally based women’s organizations, foreign and border based women’s organizations, political parties, female MPs, civil society organizations and individuals.

The three-day forum included presentations and workshops on ‘legal protection for women’; ‘women and decision-making’; ‘women and peace’; ‘the constitution, federalism and women’ and finally ‘gender equality’.

During Myanmar’s democratic transition period, this is the first forum held with cooperation from ethnic women from inside and outside the country and borderland areas, with the aim to promote women’s empowerment, equality and their involvement in Myanmar’s peace and federalization process.

Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, a member of the steering committee of the Women’s Organization Network (WON-Myanmar), said, “It is important that women take up leadership roles in the peace process. At the same time, there is an urgent need to bring justice to women who suffered from wars and to cure their resulting trauma.”

Ma Tin Tin Nyo, the general secretary of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), said “When we work for gender equality, the government has the responsibility to create conditions that would ensure practical applications through behavioral and cognitive changes in individuals.”

Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Lat, another member of WON- Myanmar’s steering committee also said, “In order for women to take political leadership roles, there is a need to put in place specific legal provisions.”

Saw San Nyein Thu, a patrons of the Women’s League of Burma (Myanmar), also said, “Currently, women have been suffering from sexual harassment and violence at the domestic level, community level and state level. To ensure the promotion of women’s life and equality, and to ensure the legal protection of women, the current 2008 constitution needs to be reviewed and amended in accordance with the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women).”

We will shortly release a statement with the points agreed during the forum.

The women representatives who attended will send a signed petition to the President for the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Naw Ohn Hla, Daw Bau Ja, Daw Mi Mi Khine and Daw Myint Myint Aye, who are both human right defenders and gender activists.

Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe 09 730 210 25
Daw Tin Tin Nyo 094 5006 6963
Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Lat 09 250 020 626
Saw San Nyein Thu 09 421 734 676

Click to view PDF of Press Release
Click to view PDF of Declaration
Click to view PDF of Recommendations
Click to view PDF of Letter of Appeal to President Thein Sein