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Ko Swe Win

HRD & Chief Editor
Myanmar Now News Agency
Schuman Award for Human Rights

The European Union in Myanmar honoured Cheery Zahau, Ko Swe Win and Daw Khin Than Htwe with this year's Schuman Award for Human Rights. The three activists and human rights defenders received the award recognising their outstanding merits in promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in Myanmar.

Ramon Magsaysay Award

In electing Ko Swe Win to receive the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his undaunted commitment to practice independent, ethical, and socially engaged journalism in Myanmar; his incorruptible sense of justice and unflinching pursuit of the truth in crucial but underreported issues; and his resolute insistence that it is in the quality and force of media’s truth-telling that we can convincingly protect human rights in the world.


Ko Swe Win is a human rights defender and the chief editor of Myanmar Now news agency. From 1998 to 2005, he spent seven years in jail for distributing anti-junta material. He then worked as a senior reporter for the Irrawaddy Magazine and freelanced for international publications such as the New York Times. Ko Swe Win has written extensively on human rights cases that involve physical injury or death, unlawful detention or miscarriage of justice in Myanmar. In September 2016, he received the President’s Certificate of Honour from the  Myanmar Ministry of Information for an investigative report he wrote exposing the abuse of two teenage maids by their employers in a Yangon tailor shop.

Threats against HRDs working on economic, social, and cultural rights have increased. HRDs supporting communities affected by the Letpadaung mining project endure repeated judicial harassment, arrest, imprisonment, and prevention of travel to the area. Additionally, violence against the stateless Rohingya in Arakan state and the Muslim population endangers Rohingya and Muslim HRDs, while community leaders staging interfaith dialogues and documenting human rights violations face arrest and charges.