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Kyaw Hla Aung

U Kyaw Hla Aung (16 August 1940 – 1 August 2021[1]) was a Burmese lawyer and civil rights activist and member of the Rohingya community.

U Kyaw Hla Aung
Born(1940-08-16)16 August 1940
Died1 August 2021(2021-08-01) (aged 80)
EducationBachelor of Art (1960), LL.B (1982)
Political partyNational Democratic Party for Human Rights
  • U Yusuf (father)
  • Daw Gul Badan (mother)
AwardsAurora Prize for Awakening Humanity (2018)

Early life

Kyaw Hla Aung was born in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, Burma, British Raj, as the son of a government official. His father Yusuf was a state court's Head Clerk, served for 40 years.[2] His birth name was Muhammad Kasim. He grew up and obtained his education in Sittwe and began to work as a court clerk and stenographer in 1960. Motivated by the injustice he saw, he quit his job and started to train as a lawyer, graduating in 1982.[3][4]


In 1986, as the government of Myanmar began to confiscate the land of the Rohingya, Aung represented a group of Rohingya farmers, writing an appeal letter. In retaliation, he was detained and spent two years in prison in Rangoon. In the aftermath of the 1988 protests he could leave prison and returned to Sittwe. He co-founded the "National Democratic Party for Human Rights" and was selected as candidate for the elections in 1990.[5] To prevent his candidacy, he was arrested again and sentenced to 14 years in prison. In 1997 he was released in the course of an amnesty, but was repeatedly arrested afterwards.[3][4][6][5] His home was razed in the course of the Rohingya conflict and since 2018 he lived in the Thet Kae Pyin internment camp outside of Sittwe, where he was one of the camp leaders.[7]

The main goal of his activism has been to organize access to healthcare and education for the Rohingya community and raise the awareness about the conflict.[3][4]

In 2018, Aung won the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.[3][8]

In 2019, he was listed in the Fortune magazine's list of "World's Greatest Leaders on rank 28".[9] The Armenian post office dedicated a stamp to him in 2019.[10]

Aung was married and had seven children.[11]

Aung died in Botahtaung, Yangon, where he had moved from the refugee camp for health treatment.[12]


  1. ^ "Aurora Prize Laureate Hla Aung passes away". Public Radio of Armenia. 1 August 2021. Archived from the original on 20 July 2023. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  2. ^ Frontier Myanmar Article, 3 June 2016 Archived September 24, 2023, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d "Kyaw Hla Aung: "We are not from another land"". 26 June 2018. Archived from the original on 15 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Kamala Thiagarajan (17 September 2018). "Rohingya lawyer Kyaw Hla Aung on the price of fighting for justice". Archived from the original on 20 August 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (2015). "Political Prisoner Profile: U Kyaw Hla Aung" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 19 June 2023. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Human rights group deplores Myanmar court extension of Rohingya activist Kyaw Hla Aung detention". 6 August 2014. Archived from the original on 25 September 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  7. ^ "'Deeply Disturbing' Conditions For Rohingya In Myanmar, And Those Yet To Return". 29 May 2018. Archived from the original on 1 August 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Give us Myanmar citizenship to end exodus, award-winning Rohingya lawyer urges". Japan Times. 11 June 2018. Archived from the original on 17 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  9. ^ "World's Greatest Leaders". Fortune. 2019. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  10. ^ "New stamp features 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate Kyaw Hla Aung". 16 October 2019. Archived from the original on 1 August 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  11. ^ Kristin Hulaas Sunde (8 April 2015). "A reluctant hero of the Rohingya in Myanmar". Archived from the original on 9 December 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Rohingya Human Rights Activist Kyaw Hla Aung Passes Away". The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. 1 August 2021. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
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Kyaw Hla Aung
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