Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General mourns U Win Tin, champion of freedom of expression in Myanmar

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today presented the people of Myanmar with her condolences following the death of journalist and poet U Win Tin, laureate of the 2001 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

U Win Tin co-founded Myanmar’s National League for Democracy in 1988.  He was arrested soon afterwards and spent nearly 20 years in prison before being released in 2008.  While he was behind bars, Win Tin continued to advocate for free speech and democracy, even writing a letter to the United Nations that led to an extension of his sentence.

“The death of U Win Tin is a loss to the people of Myanmar and to champions of freedom of expression all over the world,” declared the Director-General.  “It is also a loss for UNESCO, whose values U Win Tin promoted with exemplary selflessness before his country embarked on the process of democratization that is presently underway.”

He died on 21 April after being admitted to hospital because of kidney problems.