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Sep 17, 2008 (DVB), Bo Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners is one of five people to receive a 2008 Human Rights Defenders Award from international rights group Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch announced on Monday that Bo Kyi would be honoured along with human rights advocates from Congo, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan for
Bo Kyi co-founded AAPP in Mae Sot, Thailand, after he left Burma, having spent more than seven years in prison for political activities.
The organisation gives financial and medical support to current and former political prisoners and their families, monitors prison conditions and advocates for the release of political prisoners.
Human Rights Watch praised Bo Kyi's commitment to working for the rights of political prisoners.
"Over the last 20 years, Bo Kyi has demonstrated unfaltering courage, sharing his story and those of other political prisoners and exposing the Burmese military government’s abuses," the group said in a statement announcing the award.
"Human Rights Watch honors Bo Kyi for his heroic efforts to speak out against Burmese repression and to advocate on behalf of those who have dared to criticize the military government."
Bo Kyi welcomed the award as an acknowledgement of the work of many activists working for human rights in Burma and said it could bring more international attention to their cause.
"This award is not just for me, but for all the activists who are standing strong under many forms of torture in prisons across Burma, and to the members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network in acknowledgement of the incredible job they do, and also to the members of the AAPP for their amazing work."
"Receiving an international level award could mean we will be more effective in our advocacy for human rights and other international issues but this doesn’t mean the human rights situations in Burma will improve all of a sudden," he said.
"To bring about improvement in Burma, our people inside the country will have to speak out about their rights being taken away and communicate more with the groups outside and then we could see an improvement there."
Tate Naing of AAPP said he was delighted his colleague had been selected for the award.
"I see this as a reward to Ko Bo Kyi for his efforts in the human rights movement and also as a prize for all our comrades and activists who are fighting against human rights abuses in Burma," he said.
Reporting by Aye Nai