June 11, 2018
An activist who has spent 40 years fighting for Rohingya rights has won $100,000 for his work, and a further $1 million to donate to charities of his choice.
Kyaw Hla Aung, a lawyer who focuses on educational and health care rights for his community in Myanmar, was announced as the winner of the Aurora Prize on Sunday. The award includes a $100,000 grant, and the opportunity to nominate three organizations to share a $1 million donation.
During a ceremony held near the Turkish-Armenian border on Sunday morning, he said he would spend the grant on “education and humanitarian affairs” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and added that he hoped the profile of the award would offer him some protection. He has been arrested and imprisoned multiple times for his work.
“I am in fear of arrest because this is a [situation] of genocide,” he said, pointing to the case of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer who was assassinated outside Yangon International Airport last year.