We, the undersigned, have learned that our colleague, respected forests and rights defender and democracy advocate Kyaw Min Htut has been arrested and detained by the junta in Myanmar. He was arrested under the country’s Anti-Terrorist Act, Article 50, alleging he supported and gave financial help to groups classified as terrorists by the junta.

Kyaw Min Htut was a member of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade multi-stakeholder group, a member of the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability network representing more than 400 civil society groups nationwide and was also a civil society representative on the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee.

We understand that Kyaw Minn Htut, his younger brother Kyaw Minn Aung and his uncle U Min Min were arrested in the latter’s home at about 3pm on Monday (06 September) by soldiers in Nandawon Ward, Monya township, Sagaing Region.

His wife Daw Khin Saw Hlaing and their two-year-old son Khant Lin had both been arrested, detained and questioned by the military the day before.

Previously, following the coup of 01 February this year, Kyaw Minn Htut felt he had no option but to leave his family home to ensure his own security and that of his family.

Police raided his house on 23 August but were unable to locate him. Afterwards, according to local sources, clear instructions were circulated to arrest him and detain his family members if he was not found. In light of this, his wife and child were relocated on 31 August, but were captured by the military soon afterwards.

Kyaw Minn Htut has been working with Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement and supporting pro- democracy activists to non-violently resist the brutal military coup.

Last year, Kyaw Minn Htut sued a Member of Parliament, U Maung Myint, from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, over the use of hate speech in his election campaigns. Kyaw Minn Htut was subsequently imprisoned, although he was released on bail in December 2020. We, the Indonesian civil society monitors share a joint vision with Kyaw Min Htut and other colleagues in Myanmar of championing forest protection and rights by improving forest governance, through promoting credibility and accountability of extraction of forest resources.

Under the framework of EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in South East Asia region, we have shared experiences and worked together with our colleagues in Myanmar and other countries to achieve these goals in our respective countries. Kyaw Min Htut has been working tirelessly for what is right, despite the risks to his life.

We are deeply concerned for his wellbeing and that of his family at this time – and, ultimately, we fear for his life.

We are demanding the Myanmar military government to immediately release Kyaw Min Htut unharmed and free of all charges.

In solidarity,

Kaoem Telapak

Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK)


Jurnal Celebes South – East Sulawesi

Uno Itam – Aceh

PADI – East Kalimantan

PPLH Mangkubumi – East Java

Komnas Desa – South East Sulawesi

GRID – West Kalimantan

Alam Hijau – Jambi

Kaharingan Institute – Central Kalimantan

Teraju Foundation – West Kalimantan

Greenpeace Indonesia

Full statement here