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Cablegate: Embassy Rangoon's Nomination for the 2009

VZCZCXYZ0035
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGO #0835 3011422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271422Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8321

UNCLAS RANGOON 000835

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS; EAP/RSP; AND G/IWI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO PHUM BM
SUBJECT: EMBASSY RANGOON'S NOMINATION FOR THE 2009
SECRETARY'S INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF
COURAGE: PHYU PHYU THIN

REF: STATE 99729

NOMINATION AND JUSTIFICATION
-----------------------------

1. (SBU) Embassy Rangoon is pleased to nominate Burmese
HIV/AIDS activist Phyu Phyu Thin for the 2009 Secretary's
Award for International Women of Courage. Phyu Phyu Thin has
demonstrated great courage and leadership and overcome
tremendous obstacles in advancing the cause of HIV/AIDS
awareness and providing treatment and care to Burma's
under-served HIV-positive population. A long-time member of
the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), Phyu Phyu
Thin has been a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS since
NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi nominated her to take part in a
United Nations program on HIV in 2002. Since then, Phyu Phyu
Thin has worked tirelessly to address HIV/AIDS in Burma,
establishing hospices for victims of the disease, conducting
HIV/AIDS awareness and testing campaigns, and distributing
life-saving anti-retroviral treatments.

2. (SBU) Phyu Phyu Thin faces tremendous obstacles in her
work, including scarce resources and widespread ignorance
about the HIV/AIDS problem. There are an estimated 600,000
HIV-positive people in Burma, which is one of the poorest
countries in the region. Government funding for treatment
programs is inadequate and the availability of donor support
for anti-retroviral treatments is insufficient to meet the
need. For many years public education about HIV/AIDS was
almost non-existent.

3. (SBU) As a member of the NLD, Phyu Phyu Thin has
encountered harassment, intimidation, and even arrest at the
hands of Burma's military regime. In 2000, she and several
of her colleagues were arrested and held for over four months
after gathering at a Rangoon train station to bid farewell to
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was taking a trip to upper Burma. In
2002 and 2003, Phyu Phyu Thin launched an HIV awareness
campaign in Rangoon, but was soon pressured to stop by the
regime. For several months following the peaceful
pro-democracy protests in September 2007, Phyu Phyu Thin was
forced into hiding after the regime allegedly sought her
arrest. Many of Phyu Phyu Thin's colleagues remain in
detention, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who first encouraged
her to take up HIV/AIDS as a cause. In the face of these
significant obstacles, Phyu Phyu Thin has demonstrated
courage, poise, and an unwavering commitment to cause of
HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment. She has overcome
political, economic, and social obstacles to her mission and
in so doing has inspired many to help make her country a
better place for all. We strongly recommend Phyu Phyu Thin
for this award as an exemplary woman of courage.

4. (SBU) Phyu Phyu Thin has consented to her nomination for
this award.

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
--------------------

5. (SBU) Per State 99729, Phyu Phyu Thin's biographical
details are as follows:

- Name: Phyu Phyu Thin (note: Burmese names cannot be broken
into separate parts, so her name must always be read and
written as a whole);

- Job Title: HIV/AIDS activist and National League for
Democracy member;

- Date of Birth: 23 December 1971;

- Country of Birth: Burma;

- Citizenship: Burma;

- Address: Withheld for security purposes, nominee can be
contacted via Embassy Rangoon;

- Telephone: Withheld for security purposes, nominee can be
contacted via Embassy Rangoon;

- E-mail: nominee does not have one; and

- Passport number: nominee does not have one; additionally
she told us she does not believe the government will issue
her a passport to travel abroad.
DINGER

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