Our Founders

Tate Naing

Tate Naing (Secretary) was born in Tavoy, Tenasserim Division in southern Burma. In 1987, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Rangoon University. During the 1988 uprising he joined the Association of Burmese Patriotic Youth (ABPY) and was a member of its Executive Committee. He was arrested in March 1990 for writing and distributing a political journal, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment. He was charged under Section 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, 17/20 of the Printing Act, and a vaguely worded law that is frequently used to silence political dissent. He served this sentence in Insein and Thayet prisons. He and his fellow political prisoners—including monks—were brutally beaten on the journey to Thayet prison in Magwe Division. After his release, he participated in the December 1996 student demonstrations in Rangoon. Following this, he went into hiding for eight months. Tate Naing then left for the Thai-Burma border in September 1997. He is now the Secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), which he co-founded in March 2000.

Bo Kyi

Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary) was first arrested in 1989 after returning home from a meeting with a student organization and youth democracy group. Following this, he was forced to go into hiding and move his democratic activism underground to evade arrest. He has been arrested twice and was both mentally and physically tortured by Burma’s notorious Military Intelligence. After his second arrest, he fled to the Thai-Burma border to help form AAPP. He has spent over seven years in prison for his work with the underground democracy movement in Burma. It is this tireless work and dedication to democracy and human rights in Burma that has earned Bo Kyi a number of prestigious awards from renowned institutions. He is the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Watch, Alison des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, and the 2011 Freedom and Human Rights Award from the Swiss-based organization of the same name. He continues to live on the Thai-Burma border with his wife and two children.

Zaw Tun

Zaw Tun (Executive Member) was born in Rangoon, and studied Psychology at Rangoon University before becoming involved in the democracy movement. In 1988, he participated in the March and June student demonstrations with the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) while enrolled in first year psychology. In December 1989, he became affiliated with ABFSU (Lower Part) and worked secretly, organizing activities and events within the union. On January 21, 1991, he was arrested by Military Intelligence for his ongoing political activity. In May 1991, he was sentenced to six years with hard labor, and was later transferred from Insein Prison to Thayet Prison in November 1991. In August 1995, he was released from Thayet Prison. Following his release he continued to coordinate student activities as a member of ABFSU Central Organizing Committee.

In December 1996, Zaw Tun occupied one of the key roles in the student movement for protection of student’s rights. Due to this, he was followed by Military Intelligence. Eventually, in January 1997, he fled from Burma to the Thai-Burma town of Mae Sot. There, he continued to organize activities inside Burma while working as a member of the Democratic Party for a New Society, based in Mae Sot. In August 1998, he became one of the cofounders of ABFSU’s Foreign Affair Committee and worked as a coordinator of the committee in the Mae Sot region.

On December 1, 1999, he became a member of Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), Campaign Committee. On March 23, 2000, he was chosen as a member of the Executive Committee and the Secretary Group.