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Freedom Challenge 2010. Welcome to Freedom Challenge 2010. What is Freedom Challenge? Freedom Challenge is a team challenge for youth groups in New Zealand to take action for human rights around the world. 

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Welcome to freedom challenge 2010 l.jpg
Welcome to Freedom Challenge 2010

What is Freedom Challenge?

  • Freedom Challenge is a team challenge for youth groups in New Zealand to take action for human rights around the world. 

  • Each team organises events to highlight a particular human rights issue. This year, the theme is “Make Some Noise for the Students of Myanmar! Free the Spech!


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The four aims of Freedom Challenge

  • Campaigning – make some noise & get media coverage of your event!

  • Awareness Raising - inspire others to takeaction.

  • Fundraising.

  • Recruitment - recruit people to Amnesty and your Amnesty group.


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Goals for Freedom Challenge 2010

  • To campaign to free or improve the conditions of three Prisoners of Conscience, student activists Khun Dee De, Khun Kawrio and Khun Bedu

  • To raise awareness about and take action on the human rights abuses occurring in Myanmar (Burma)

  • To raise $30,000


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Activity: Introduction

Before introducing the theme for this year’s Freedom Challenge, it’s time for you to introduce yourselves!

  • What’s your name?

  • Why do you want to take part in Freedom Challenge?

  • What do you want to get out of this workshop?


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Freedom of speech, association and assembly

Persecution of government opponents in Myanmar is rife leading up to this year’s election, likely to take place in October.

Activists are silenced and denied the freedom to speak out against oppression.

Many are arrested and jailed for peaceful protests or activities.


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History

  • The government currently ruling in Myanmar has been in power since 1988.

  • That year students peacefully protested, calling for democracy which led to this country’s first election two years later.

  • The last time the country’s military government held general elections, in May 1990, it was defeated by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a coalition of smaller opposition parties.

  • The authorities responded by ignoring the election results and arresting scores of opposition leaders and parliamentarians.

  • Many of them are still in prison and are among 2,200 political prisoners currently languish behind bars in Myanmar.


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  • In 2007, monks from ethnic minority Rakhine State initiated country-wide demonstrations against the government’s economic and political policies, in what has become known as the ‘Saffron Revolution’.

  • In May 2008, a week after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country, the government insisted on holding a referendum on a draft constitution.

  • It was passed despite popular opposition. This constitution undermines human rights.


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Who are we campaigning for?

This year’s campaigning focus for Freedom Challenge are three incredibly brave student activists from who are in prison for their peaceful protest and activism.

Khun Dee De, Khun Kawrio and Khun Bedu are three student prisoners of conscience currently detained in Myanmar.


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What did they do?

  • The organised youth groups and spoke to youth in their community about human rights and freedom... Much like how we run our Amnesty groups here in New Zealand

  • These three young student activists took part in peaceful protest and opposition actions against the referendum held in 2008 which was about a unfair new constitution for Myanmar that would undermine human rights in that country.

  • They campaigned for a "No" vote by spray-painting "No" and "Vote No" on walls and signposts. They also released balloons carrying messages that urged people to vote against the constitution and handed out pamphlets carrying the same messages.

  • Khun Kawrio, Khun Bedu and Khun Dee De were imprisoned and each has received a sentence of up to 37 years.


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What happened to them?

  • The trio were arrested for those activities on the day of the referendum May 10, 2008, and later sentenced by a military court. They had no trial, no legal representation and no judge present at their sentencing.

  • Each has been sent to a prison far from his home, making family visits difficult.

  • The three activists were interrogated for 15 days. They were beaten with sticks, kicked and forced to kneel on stones. Their mouths were taped up to stop them screaming and plastic bags were put over their heads. They were also made to lie in the sun for several hours at a time, when the temperature reached over 30 degrees Celsius.

  • Khun Kawrio was also water boarded and has suffered respiratory problems as a result. He has no access to health care.


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  • “The authorities kept and interrogated all of us for 15 days someplace, before releasing me but sending the other three to Loikaw jail. I owe my freedom—as do others who were not arrested on 10 May—to Khun Bedu, one of the three, as he accepted all responsibility for the anti-referendum actions of our group. He told the authorities that, as joint secretary of the KNGY, only he knew what was on the computer and participated in the activism, while the rest of us were completely innocent.” KNGY activist, arrested alongside the three men on 10 May.


And just in case you were wondering what is a prisoner of conscience l.jpg
And just in case you were wondering… days someplace, before releasing me but sending the other three to What is a Prisoner of Conscience?

  • You’ll hear the term Prisoner of Conscience often in this campaign.

  • The leader of the largest opposition party, Daw Aung San SuuKyi is a prisoner of conscience, as are Khun Bedu, Khun Kawrio and Khun Dee De

  • A prisoner of conscience is a term that Amnesty International came up with. It is someone who is imprisoned for who they are or the things that they believe in. Remember that a Prisoner of Conscience has never advocated, or been part of an organisation that has advocated, violence of any form.


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And just in case you were wondering… days someplace, before releasing me but sending the other three to Why Myanmar and not Burma?

During your campaign you may be asked why Amnesty uses the term Myanmar not Burma. Here’s the answer

  • Burma is a colonial name given to the country by the British. In 1989, the ruling government (which is still in power) changed its name from Burma to Myanmar. This change was recognised by the United Nations (UN).

  • Amnesty uses the names of countries that are registered with the UN. Doing so means Amnesty avoids taking a political position regarding the legitimacy of governments. It also prevents Amnesty from alienating governments that it is trying to influence, with the aim to improving the likelihood of achieving vital aims to better human rights.


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Questions? days someplace, before releasing me but sending the other three to

  • If you have any questions about the ‘Make Some Noise for the Students of Myanmar’ or Freedom Challenge in general, now is the time to ask!



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What you can do? Myanmar!

Generate thousands of appeals to

  • General Than Shwe – leader of the governing party in Myanmar

  • Dr Surin Pitsuwan – Secretary General of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

    Calling for the release of Khun Dee De, Khun Kawrio and Khun Bedu


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Action Ideas... Myanmar!

  • Remember that the purpose of your event(s) is to raise awareness and encourage others to take action on behalf of our three Karenni students

  • You’ll have lots of ideas which will work best for your school….


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Action Ideas... Myanmar!

So far we’ve had ideas about:

  • Celebrating your Freedom of Assembly and organising a party

  • Freedom Concerts

  • Toast to Freedom events

  • Saffron /orange / red mufti days

  • Chalk slogans/murals

  • Make your own paper boat (we’ve provided instructions on the website)

  • Film screenings

  • Invite speakers or your local Burmese community to take part in your events


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Rules of Brainstorming Myanmar!

Remember to

  • Write everything down where everyone

    can see it

  • No idea is too crazy

  • No interruptions

  • Keep it fun!

  • Break up into smaller groups and brainstorm ideas on different events that you can hold.

  • If you already have plans for your school or youth group, think about how to get better media coverage or involve your community.

  • Have a discussion about the events you like best and which are most likely to work for your school or community.


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Resources Myanmar!

In your Freedom Challenge kit and on the website, we have provided templates/letters for you to get signed.

  • There’s space for you to add a personal message about how you feel the people of Myanmar should be treated.

  • Remember to get everyone at your events to sign these letters. The more signatures we get, the more likely that our voices will be heard! And that Khun Bedu, Khun Kawrio and Khun Dee De will be free


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The Website! Myanmar!

  • Visit www.freedomchallenge.org.nz and check out the Freedom Challenge website.

  • You’ll find all the resources you need plus extra multimedia resources that you can use at your meetings or events.


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Register you team NOW Myanmar!

  • Register your team using the form sent out in your FC2010 kits or online and let us know what plans you have for your group.


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Contacts Myanmar!

Be sure to keep in contact with the Freedom Challenge Team. The following people will be your main contacts

  • Mo Farrell – Freedom Challenge Coordinator

    ([email protected])

  • Margaret Taylor – Activism Support Manager

    ([email protected])

  • Youth Activism Intern

    ([email protected])

  • Or call us on 0800 AMNESTY


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Freedom Challenge Video Myanmar!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSERmKg6x5k

This video is about how Freedom Challenge went last year. Have a look to get some inspiration for this year’s Challenge.


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