Though imprisoned for a collective 12 years for ‘crimes’ including filing petitions and protesting peacefully, Kyaw Hla Aung had never stopped using his skills as an attorney to seek justice for the millions of Rohingya Muslims subject to persecution in and fleeing from Myanmar. Mr. Aung had faced both personal and systemic challenges in protecting a community threatened in its own homeland, but never backed down.
After being named the 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate, Mr. Kyaw Hla Aung had chosen to allocate the $1,000,000 award to three international organizations providing medical aid and assistance to Rohingya refugees across Southeast Asia: Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Catholic Migration Commission, and MERCY Malaysia. Overall, their efforts have benefitted approximately 375,000 Rohingya refugees to date, giving them a second chance and hope for a better tomorrow.
Kyaw Hla Aung had witnessed and felt firsthand the effects of suffocating regulations constantly inflicted upon the Rohingya community. Armed with little more than his knowledge of the law and a tireless determination, he had been successful in battling the inequalities of the system in Myanmar and helping his fellow Rohingya brothers and sisters seek justice.
Aurora offers our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Mr. Kyaw Hla Aung’s family. He will be greatly missed by the global humanitarian community and his treasured memory will live on in our hearts.
Noubar Afeyan, Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founders
Lord Ara Darzi, Chair, Aurora Prize Selection Committee
Dr. Tom Catena, Chair, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative