Hkun Htun Oo, leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) that had won the most seats in Shan State in the 1990 elections, is leaving for Washington D.C. this evening, according to SNLD sources.
The 69 year old Hkun Htun Oo, whose birthday coincided with 9/11, will be receiving the Democracy Award presented by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) along with 4 other prominent activists from Burma: Min Ko Naing, Kyaw Thu, Aung Din and Dr Cynthia Maung, on 20 September. “It is however not certain Min Ko Naing will be there in person,” said Sai Nyunt Lwin, the party’s vice chairman. “He has been insisting that (Burmese) authorities issue traveling documents not only for him but also his comrades who have also applied for them. He says it is not fair for others who had struggled alongside him through thick and thin.”
Hkun Htun Oo is scheduled to meet dignitaries in Washington and New York. Unconfirmed reports also say his name is on President Thein Sein’s UN delegation. The President is due to fly to New York on 24 September to attend the annual UN General Assembly.
He is also due to visit his aunt in law Inge Sargent, better known as Nang Fa Hsipaw (Hsipaw Princess) and the author of Twilight Over Burma: My life as a Shan princess (1994). A meeting with the Shan community in California is also on the agenda.
He will be back in Rangoon on 2 October.
Hkun Htun Oo, also a scion of the former Hsipaw princely house, is one of the few non-Burman politicians who has gained respect both among the Burmans and non-Burmans. He together with 7 other colleagues were arrested in 2005 and sentenced to prison, 79-106 years.
He was released by presidential amnesty in January 2012.