TWA trains Burmese activists in Thailand on ‘Democracy and Elections’

The two week training imparted the tools for organizing a Mass Mock Election in Burma

In a tangible expression of solidarity and support, the Tibetan Women’s Association trained Burmese refugee activists based in Thailand on ‘Democracy and Elections. ’ The two week training focused on ‘Mechanisms to organize a Mass Mock Election in Burma’. Rev. Katsuyuki Imoto, Chairperson of the East Asia Burma Office of “Democracy Promotion Fund for Burma and Tibet,” invited TWA in light of their successful organizing of Exile Tibet’s first Mass Mock Election in July 2010.

TWA Vice President Samten Chodon joined Program Coordinator of Empowerment through Action Nyima Lhamo in visiting five regions of Thailand – namely Mahachai, Sangkraburi, Mae sot, Chiangmai and Bangkok – that had a high number of Burmese refugee activists working on reviving democracy in Burma, which is presently under military siege.

“Democracy plays an important role for Burma and Tibet. We feel Tibetan democracy is a gifted one, and are happy to share our gift with the people of Burma through this training. People in Burma are struggling for democracy under the Junta rule. Aung Sang Sui Kyi and her supporters’ efforts show commitment to restoring peace in Burma, and are effective enough to highlight the oppression and hardship facing of the people of Burma,” said Samten Chodon.

The two week training held from August 2 to August 14 catered to Burmese ethnic group leaders, and leaders of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs); United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), Arakan National Council (ANC), Chin National Front, and Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand. In addition, a special training on ‘Women and Democracy’ was accorded to the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) based in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city.

“People responded well to our program though the Burmese migrants living in Thailand have their own limitations and restrictions posed by the Thai Government. An important thing we learned through this training is that some of the ground realities of the struggle of Burma are different from our Tibetan struggle. For example, the multitudes of Bumese ethnic groups in Thailand has led to less unity amongst the people, which consequently over-arches national interests,” said Nyima Lhamo.

“With the heightened repression of Tibetans in Nepal, if Burma became a free state and if meaningful democracy is restored in Burma, then this could also create another route for Tibetans to escape into exile, even if it meant to escape secretly,” said Rev Katsuyuki Imoto.

TWA is convinced that the Burmese activists will be successful in conducting a large scale Mass Mock Election in Burma to ascertain the people’s mandate in the formation of a Government run by a democratically elected leadership – just like the one bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Tibetan people.

TWA’s Empowerment through Action Desk (ETAD) was founded in May 2009 and the desk exists to strengthen and support the aims of TWA by ensuring that programs are accessible and presented with excellence. The ETAD provides a central point of contact of resources for Tibetan women in exile, while effectively coordinating empowerment programs in culturally appropriate and gender sensitive ways.

TWA’s ETAD imparts leadership and empowerment actions which include the Advanced Tibetan Women’s Leadership Training, the Annual Young Tibetan Women’s Leadership Program, the All India Gender Sensitization Training and the Annual Tibetan Nuns Leadership Training.

Press Contacts: Samten Chodon, Vice President, TWA: 9418936118 & Nyima Lhamo, Program Coordinator, TWA: 9882502821

Also view the photographs on Flickr.
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