Farewell U Win Tin – April 21, 2014

U Win Tin funeral  procession - (c) 2014 Irrawaddy.org

U Win Tin funeral procession – (c) 2014 Irrawaddy.org

Partners Asia joins with the people of Myanmar to mourn the death of U Win Tin, who passed on Monday aged 84. U Win Tin was a founder of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in 1988 (along with Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo). Prior to that he was an author and newspaper editor. He was arrested in 1989 and spent 20 years in Yangon Insein jail – often in solitary confinement, and often tortured despite his age and seniority. On release from jail, U Win Tin always wore a blue shirt – the prison uniform – and vowed to do so until the last political prisoner was released. U Win Tin was a radical opponent of military rule and authoritarian politics.

Since his release from jail in 2008 he worked tirelessly for the NLD, traveling the country despite his poor health. He founded the U Win Tin Foundation to support and rehabilitate political prisoners and in almost every interview he called on the military to apologize to political prisoners and the families of those who died fighting for their rights. Like most Burmese, he did not press for the leaders and perpetrators of human rights violations to be punished, but he did want the truth to be known, above all else.

There is a word I always use in talking about the coup, which is that the bones will crow one day and tell the real story, because the truth can’t be hidden all the time.

– U Win Tin

U Win Tin was a man of the people, and will be much missed by the people – a principled politician of great integrity who suffered for his belief in freedom.

A wonderful video interview with him by Democratic Voice of Burma DVB last year (in English) can be viewed here: http://english.dvb.no/dvb-video/the-naked-truth-of-myanmar-a-portrait-of-u-win-tin/39771

Zunetta Herbert
Senior Advisor, Partners Asia


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