Knowledge and Insights from Youth: Open Space (July 2023)
On July 16, 2023, AYF hosted its fourth Youth: Open Space in solidarity with our network from Myanmar, Alison, is an activist who works in one of the organizations in her country, and she is active to raise awareness regarding gender equality. Besides Alison, we also have Phyo, who is also an activist that always raises awareness regarding digital rights and she is also a professional who works in the organization. Both of our networks from Myanmar deliver different themes., Alison delivers on how people who live in rural areas and people's defense force face difficulties and are ignored in Junta military regime, while Phyo delivers how important security and the principles of rights on digital platforms are.
Rural Area and People Defense Force Who Being Ignored
In Alison's passionate sharing, she brought attention to the devastating impact of military targeting on rural areas through air strikes and bombings, resulting in severe consequences such as electricity and internet shutdowns. By highlighting the military's focus on rural regions, Alison reminded the audience and urban dwellers about the ongoing military coup and urged them to show empathy towards their fellow citizens who are courageously fighting for a revolution in rural areas. The plea for solidarity emphasized the importance of recognizing the collective struggle against oppression and injustice, regardless of where one resides.
Another critical aspect of Alison's message was her mentioning the People Defense Force (PDF) and their struggles in the forest while fighting for justice. This armed resistance group represents the resilience and determination of ordinary citizens who have taken up arms to protect their communities against the military regime. Alison urged people to support the PDF financially, offering a creative solution to assist them without using traditional cash transactions. By finding alternative ways to provide financial support, she hoped to empower the PDF and bolster their efforts in seeking justice and freedom.
Furthermore, Alison outlined several practical steps that individuals could take to weaken the military's air power and raise awareness about the coup. She stressed the importance of sharing reliable news and information on social media platforms to counter misinformation propagated by the military regime. Additionally, she encouraged financial support through various means, including explaining how to make donations through applications on Google Play Store and engaging in public fundraising efforts.
By utilizing social media and sharing information with the hashtag #WhatshappeninginMyanmar, Alison believed that collective action could generate a significant impact in the fight against the military coup. Her final call to action urged everyone to raise their voices and unite in solidarity to make a difference. Through collective efforts, she expressed optimism in achieving positive change and justice for Myanmar.
Human Rights Online
Phyo brought attention to the concept of Internet Rights, which are essentially Human Rights Online. Phyo referenced the charter of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition, which outlines ten rights and principles aimed at creating a digital environment that upholds and protects human rights. By introducing these rights and principles, Phyo sought to emphasize the significance of ensuring that people's fundamental rights are respected and upheld in the context of the Internet.
During the session, Phyo also shed light on Myanmar's Internet Governance issues, drawing attention to the challenges faced in the country. Specifically, Phyo highlighted the intersection of security concerns with digital security issues. This intersection is crucial to understand as it not only impacts individual users' online safety but also has broader implications for the overall digital landscape and the protection of human rights in the digital sphere.
Phyo also shared personal experiences of engaging in volunteer activities for the community during free time. In the midst of the difficult political situation in Myanmar, Phyo found solace and support in mindfulness music and videos, recognizing their positive impact on mental health. This reflection underscores the importance of self-care and well-being during times of political turmoil and uncertainty. By openly sharing these coping strategies, Phyo encouraged others to consider their mental health and well-being amidst challenging circumstances.
Overall, the Youth: Open Space for Phyo to raise awareness about the importance of Internet Rights, discuss the complex Internet Governance landscape in Myanmar, and offer a glimpse into the personal coping mechanisms employed during difficult times. Phyo hoped to foster a deeper understanding of the issues at hand and create a space for empathy and support within the community.