Universal Declaration of Human Rights gets translated into Myanmar minority languages.

“It’s Like Bringing a Thirsty Man to a Well”

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission recently launched three translations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR) in the Myanmar minority languages of Shan, Mon and Kachin. This effort was supported by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute.

“Such translations are pertinent as even though the UDHR translation exists in the majority Burmese language in Myanmar, it is equally important to ensure that human rights concepts and understanding trickle down to the grassroots level and reach those who may not understand the Burmese language,” says Sue Anne Teo, Programme Officer at RWI.

The spread of human rights information in ethnic languages can play a key role in increasing the awareness and understanding of what rights are, especially so in areas of Kachin and Shan state which are still in conflict.

According to U Soe Aung, the representative of the Mon Literature and Culture Committee, the existence of these translations is akin to “bringing a thirsty man to a well.” They were very much appreciative of this effort and called for more copies to be printed and distributed. This sentiment was similarly echoed by the Kachin and Shan language commissions.

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has been supporting the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission in capacity development since 2012. The current project will run until the end of 2015.

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