Saw Mra Raza Linn

Myanmar


Saw Mra Raza Linn is an ethnic Rakhine of Myanmar who is Chairperson of the Rakhine Women’s Union, lead peace negotiator of the Arakan Liberation Party in their negotiations with the Myanmar Government, and working her entire life for the establishment of democracy and peace. 

Saw Mra Razar Lin was once the sole female peace negotiator between the Burmese government and ethnic armed groups. Before joining peace negotiations as a representative of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), she played many and varied roles in the country’s transition. These include as a school teacher, as founder and Chairperson of Rakhine Women’s Union and as a founding member of the Women’s League of Burma. 

During the democracy uprising in 1988, Mra Raza Linn led thousands of people in pro-democracy marches in Rakhine State, advocating for the inclusion of diverse religious groups in the democracy movement, the addressing of violence against women, and for the release political prisoners. Along with many prominent democracy leaders, she was forced to leave the country. 

Mra Raza Linn left her native Myanmar for deep jungles of Bangladesh, where she became a soldier and a leader of the armed guerrilla struggle of the underground revolutionary element. She first became a part of the National United Front of Arakan (Rakhine), leaving the group when it disbanded, and then continued to Thailand. Saw Mra Razar Lin spent nearly 3 years without seeing a single fellow female, without sufficient food, medicine, blankets or clothes.

In 1998, she formed the Rakhine Womens Union to help women along the Bangladesh–Rakhine border, and in 1999 she became a founding member of the Womens League of Burma. She has been continuously fighting for establishing democracy and human rights in Myanmar.

After more than two decades in exile, in 2012, President U Thein Sein’s Government allowed her to return to her mother country as a peace negotiator. She took up this offer and become a representative of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP)’s peace negotiations team after 24 years in exile. 

Saw Mra Razar Lin became the only female representative in the 32-member Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), a cross ethnic team charged with negotiating peace with the Government. She was also a member of the Senior Delegation of Ethnic Armed Organisations in 2015. Throughout the two-year process she played an important role the finalization of Myanmar’s landmark national ceasefire agreement on 31st March 2015. 

The NCA nation-wide ceasefire agreement  was signed by representatives from 8 eithnic armed groups, of which she was the only woman.

Now she is actively working as member of UPDJC (Union Peace Dialogue Joint committee) and continuing to work towards concluding a framework for political dialogue that will ensure a sustainable peace for all people in Myanmar. Throughout the process she has been advocating for a 30% quota for women. It is now agreed that this quota will apply to the upcoming political dialogue that seeks to devise the long-term governance arrangements that seek to end the multiple ethnic conflicts in Myanmar.

 
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