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World Poetry Day: Take action for Maung Yu Py (Myanmar)

Last update: 21 March 2022
World Poetry Day: Take action for Maung Yu Py (Myanmar)

“The story of Maung Yu Py, is the story of all those who are detained, harassed and persecuted for exposing injustices and defending freedom of expression through poetry. The PEN community stands in solidarity with Maung Yu Py and all poets who are silenced in Myanmar and across the world. Their voice must be heard.”

Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

Every year on 21 March, PEN International observes World Poetry Day, celebrating one of the most relished forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity across regions, and honouring those poets worldwide who face threats, intimidation and violence for speaking up and holding governments to account.

Adopted by UNESCO during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity and endangered languages through poetic expression, the creation of World Poetry Day was envisioned by PEN International at its 1997 Congress in Edinburgh, as proposed by PEN Turkey and seconded by Melbourne PEN.

PEN International and PEN Centres around the world have long campaigned on behalf of poets at risk and for the protection and promotion of minority languages. In 2011 PEN’s Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee developed the Girona Manifesto on Linguistic Rights – a ten point document designed to be translated and disseminated widely as a tool to defend linguistic diversity around the world.

Today, on World Poetry Day 2022, PEN International features the case of poet Maung Yu Py, detained by the Burmese authorities for exercising his right to freedom of expression through poetry.

Please take action on behalf of Maung Yu Py.

Take action

PEN International considers Maung Yu Py’s detention a breach of his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

This is what you can do:

Solidarity messages

Send a message to Maung Yu Py expressing your concern about his situation and showing solidarity.Here are some sample messages you can adapt:

  • Dear Maung Yu Py, with your poetry you have given us the example and strength to speak up against abuses of power. I look forward to the day when you will be free again, when you will be able to shape the world with your words again, and inspire us- again- to imagine and call for a better future. (Signed by: name, date, country).
  • Dear Maung Yu Py, as we celebrate World Poetry Day, I am thinking of you and the injustice you have been subjected to. You have used your poetry to address disparities and speak up for a world where human rights are a reality for all. I celebrate you and all those who speak truth to power. May we see you again on the streets of Myanmar. (Signed by: name, date, country).
  • Dear Maung Yu Py, your fellow poet Liu Xiaobo once said that “To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.” I join PEN international in calling for your release and the protection of freedom of expression in Myanmar. Stay strong! (Signed by: name, date, country).

Please send messages to:

Room 3, ward 4,

Myeik prison,

Prison department,

Home Affairs ministry,

Myeik, Tanintharyi Division,