Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

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ALTSEAN-Burma (the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma) is a Southeast Asia regional NGO working to support national and grassroots movements of Burma working for human rights and democracy.

Founded in Bangkok in 1996 by a diverse network of Southeast Asian organizations and individual activists, ALTSEAN works to strengthen connections and build solidarity between activists from Burma and those struggling against repressive regimes in the ASEAN region (ASEAN is the “Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” a 10-country regional grouping that includes Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, and Burma/Myanmar).

ALTSEAN focuses on four thematic priorities:

  • Atrocity Prevention, including building awareness and advocating for an end to impunity, including state-sanctioned violence such as crimes against humanity and genocide;
  • Business and Human Rights, including research, advocacy, and capacity building on macro-economic policies that help grassroots communities defend their rights, seek remedy, and advocate for sustainable solutions;
  • Democracy and Human Rights, including capacity building, mentorship, and joint regional and international advocacy initiatives; and
  • Women’s Rights, including a grassroots leadership training for emerging women activists from Burma to build their leadership skills and practical knowledge of human rights and community mobilization.

For nearly three decades, ALTSEAN has been a dynamic and key solidarity organization for the Burmese human rights and democracy movement. As the recipient of UUSC’s 2020 Human Rights Innovation Fellowship, ALTSEAN, in conjunction with Women’s Peace Network, and other women-led organizations and leaders from Burma, will be working together to develop and maintain an innovative online platform for knowledge-building, skill-sharing, networking, and mentorship among different religious and ethnic minority activists from across the world. By developing a broad, interlinked, and community-focused cohort of young women activists with a comprehensive skill set in relevant topics and tactics, the project aims to bridge existing skills gaps within the broader Rohingya community, while connecting them with progressive allies and mentors to build inter-community solidarity beyond those that are able to travel internationally.

UUSC is proud to support ALTSEAN with the 2020 Human Rights Innovation fellowship, and honored to partner together as it works hand-in-hand to promote grassroots human rights leadership and cultivate alliances among ethnic and religious minority women activists.

Photos Credit: ALTSEAN