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Field Notes: human rights defenders speak

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Speakers: Bo Kyi; Mathilde Muhindo; Anneke Van Woudenberg; David Scott Mathieson; Professor Christine Chinkin (chair).

Date and time: Thursday 12 November 2009

In this ninth 'Field notes' event, human rights defenders from Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo discuss their experiences, accompanied by experts from Human Rights Watch.



As a former political prisoner and co-founder of the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, Bo Kyi works tirelessly to secure the release of Burmese people who have been jailed for their political independence and activism. Bo Kyi shares his story to expose the brutal military junta's abuses, which have been on full display in recent months following the devastating cyclone in Burma.

As director of a women's rights NGO, Mathilde Muhindo empowers women to fight against pervasive discrimination and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's recent bloody conflicts. To address the crisis of tens of thousands of rapes in eastern Congo she founded a parliamentary committee to investigate rape as a weapon of war. Kyi

David Scott Mathieson is Burma Consultant in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. During 2002-2006, he conducted fieldwork for his PhD along the borderlands of Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and India. Much of his time was spent working with displaced Shan communities and refugees along the Northwest Thai border with Burma. David is the co-editor (with R.J May) of The Illusion of Progress. The Political Economy of Reform in Burma/Myanmar, (2004), co-author (with Desmond Ball) of Militia Redux. The Or Sor and the Revival of Paramilitarism in Thailand, (2007).

Anneke Van Woudenberg joined Human Rights Watch in 2002 as the senior researcher on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since 1999, Anneke has focused on humanitarian and human rights issues in the DRC working as the Country Director for Oxfam GB during the height of the war. She has provided regular briefings on the situation in the DRC to the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Congress, the British Parliament and the European Parliament. Anneke has written extensively on human rights in the DRC and is a regular commentator in the international press.