Myanmar – COI

Prof. Dr. Judith Beyer


Judith Beyer is Full Professor of Social and Political Anthropology at the University of Konstanz in Germany. She specializes in legal anthropology and has conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan) and Southeast Asia (Myanmar).  Her research focuses on the anthropology of law, the anthropology of the state and statelessness, and theories of sociality and social order.

David Gilbert (LGBTI)


Dr Gil Daryn 


Dr Gil Daryn is a social anthropologist (Ph.D. Cambridge 2002) and published scholar with expertise on the culture, society, history and politics of South Asia. Since 1989, he has visited, conducted research, worked and lived in the region for a total of over thirteen years, and currently resides in the region. In addition, he became professionally involved with asylum seekers and refugees while working in UNHCR’s Kathmandu office as an Associate Durable Solutions Officer during 2008-9. In this capacity, he went through UNHCR’s archives, read in detail many private refugee files, and became familiar with Pakistan’s Country of Origin information and the RSD process. In addition, he also conducted focus group discussions and interviews with many refugees and held detailed discussions with them. Since 2005, Dr Daryn has served as a consultant and expert on asylum and human rights and has written over 170 Expert Witness Reports. In recent years he also contributed information about specific issues to ACCORD (Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation). 

Among the issues Dr Daryn often writes about are: the justice system, gender issues including so-called ‘honour killing’ and gender minorities, sectarian violence, criminal and terrorist groups, land disputes, the health including mental health systems, minority groups, political parties, and other aspects of culture, society and history of the countries in South Asia.

Hla Myat Tun (LGBTI)


Hla Myat Tun is heading Colors Rainbow. He has eight years of experience working on development programs in Myanmar and Thailand. During his time with the United Nations Population Fund in Burma, he conducted trainings throughout the country on issues such as reproductive health, gender, and human trafficking. In Thailand he has worked with local and national LGBT organizations as well as human rights documentation projects through the International Center for Transitional Justice. He is a leading LGBT rights activist as a head of Colors Rainbow and as well as coordinating Myanmar LGBT Rights Network since 2012 and has navigated the at times challenging environment of working with the many different groups belonging to the LGBT community and has created respect around LGBT’s work locally, nationally and internationally. Lynette is a law and society scholar with research interests in law and social change, and law and social movements. Lynette is conducting fieldwork on and writing about the emergence of LGBT rights mobilization in Myanmar at a time of political transition. She has also initiated a broader collaborative project to examine the development of LGBT rights activism across various Asian countries. She co-authored the upcoming piece (2015) “Sexual and Gender Minorities in Transition: LGBT Rights and Activism in Myanmar”. Professor Chua has provided expert opinions for LGBTI cases from Myanmar and Malaysia. 

Karen Coates


Karen Coates is an author, journalist and media trainer with more than 20 years of reporting experience in Southeast Asia. She is co-editor/producer on the forthcoming film, ETERNAL HARVEST, which documents the lasting effects of the US bombing campaign in Laos. The film is a follow-up to the book Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, which was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors Book Award. Her book Cambodia Now: Life in the Wake of War, winner of the August Derleth Award, is an examination of Cambodian life in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge. She also authored the award-winning travel book This Way More Better: Stories and Photos from Asia’s Back Roads. Coates is a fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, contributing editor for Archaeology Magazine, former Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism, and former senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism (which closed in 2018). Her multimedia journalism has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, Pacific Standard, NPR, and many others. Her work in Southeast Asia began in 1996, through a graduate exchange program with Vietnam National University in Hanoi. In 1998-99, Coates worked as a reporter and editor for The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh. She routinely returns to the region to report on health, environment and social justice.

Ms Silvia di Gaetano


Silvia di Gaetano works as consultant for the protection of human rights of stateless Rohingya people in Myanmar and in the Asian region. Currently, she is collaborating with the Rohingya Human Rights Monitoring Network, providing partnership services to Rohingya individuals and networks based in Asia and Europe. Engaged in research-based advocacy, she is developing a strategy to promote accession to International Statelessness Conventions, identify legal and procedural obstacles to acquisition of nationality and formulate appropriate recommendations to prevent and reduce statelessness, leading to a Global Advocacy Campaign on Stateless Rohingya. She also drafted letters for communication to Special Procedures in Geneva relative to individual complaints, in particular from the Rohingya community in Thailand. Furthermore, she monitored, documented and reported on arbitrary detention, torture and rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Myanmar. 

Dr Kirsten McConnachie 


Dr Kirsten McConnachie is a socio-legal researcher and her work investigates law, justice and governance as it affects refugee populations. She was worked primarily with Karen and Chin refugees but is familiar with issues generally related to displacement in and from Myanmar. She is author of Governing Refugees (Routledge 2014), a book about the refugee camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border. She teaches on the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the Refugee Studies Centre.

Aung Myo Min (LGBTI)


Aung Myo Min is the founder and Executive Director of  Equality Myanmar formerly known as the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) and the Colors Rainbow LGBT Rights Project. He is a 1993 graduate of the Human Rights Advocate Program at Columbia University and the former head of the Human Rights Documentation Unit of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. He was a student leader in Burma’s 1988 revolution and the first openly gay man among the democratic movement. Aung Myo Min has been awarded seven international awards for his human rights and LGBT rights work, including the 1999 Felipa De Souza award from the IGLHRC and the Honor of Courage award from the San Francisco City Board. Today, he conducts human rights trainings, advocacy, and research in both Thailand and Burma, where has recently returned for the first time after twenty-four years in exile.

Edith Mirante


Edith Mirante has been engaged with Myanmar since 1982; her publications are listed on Her commentaries are regularly broadcast on the BBC World Service and she has given evidence about Burma before the US Congress, the European Trade Commission, and the International Labour Organization. Ms. Mirante is founder and project director of Project Maje, an information project on Burma’s human rights record and the environmental situation. She specializes in the Rohingya, Chin and Kachin.

Dr Nora Rowley 


Nora Rowley is a public health physician who has worked extensively to investigate and advocate for the human rights of Rohingya since she was first intensively introduced to the Myanmar human rights conditions for the Rohingya as a field medical relief doctor in Rakhine State, Myanmar in 2006-7.  She has researched, surveyed, networked and reported on the Rohingya and other human rights concerns in Myanmar including serving as a member of US Campaign for Burma’s Board of Directors from 2008-11.  Since June 2012, she has worked a full time surveillance, reporting and advocating regarding conditions for Rohingya in Myanmar and neighboring countries of attempted refuge.  In early 2013 and 2014, she visited and interviewed internally displaced Rohingya and other Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in Rakhine State most populous IDP area of Sittwe.  In 2014, she investigated the conditions for Rohingya seeking refuge and third country resettlement, including Rohingya who had been human trafficked, in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, including UNHCR practices.

Amy A. Smith


Amy Smith is an executive director of Fortify Rights. Previously, Amy worked as a consultant focusing on regional migration and refugee protection issues with the Labor Migration and Trafficking Unit of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Office for Southeast Asia. Amy served as the Myanmar and Thailand researcher for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International and worked with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Malaysia and Thailand, facilitating research and programming with urban and camp-based refugees from Myanmar. Amy authored numerous reports and publications on human rights and humanitarian issues, including for Human Rights Watch, and has experience providing legal representation and expert testimony for asylum seekers in the U.S. Amy is a licensed U.S. attorney with a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.S. from Northeastern University. 

Dr Maung Zarni 


Dr Maung Zarni has been a visiting fellow with CIvil Society and Human Security Research Unit at the London School of Economics in the UK since 2011.  Dr. Zarni’s research is concerned with human rights abuses, minority persecution and political repression in Burma in particular and Southeast Asia in general.  Dr. Zarni’s current research focuses on the political economy of Burma’s “Buddhist” racism and (economic) development within the context of democratic reforms.  He was the Founding Director of Free Burma Coalition, which was nominated by Open Society Institute President Aryeh Neier for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Human Rights in 1998.  Dr Zarni officially reviewed the Country of Origin Information report (June 2011) for UK’s Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI) and was a key expert witness before Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum)  as recent as Spring 2013.

Chris Lewa (The Arakan Project)


Chris Lewa is the founder and coordinator of The Arakan Project based in the region. Since 1999, she has been engaged in research-based advocacy on the situation of the Rohingya minority in Burma/Myanmar, as well as on their situation as refugees in Bangladesh and other countries in the Asian region. She provides expert reports and her expertise has been recognised, and has also provided consultancy services to international human rights organisations, UN agencies and donor governments. Her expertise has been recognised by the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in a Country Guidance case on Myanmar.

Cate Buchanan


Cate Buchanan is a peace process specialist with proven subject expertise on armed violence prevention and reduction, gun control, gender inclusion and participation, harm reduction and drug policy, and evidence-based policymaking. With an established interest in public policy, she has a strong skill-set in policy analysis, strategy development, training, and programme implementation. Cate has worked with peace process actors related to conflicts in Abkhazia, Georgia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, South Ossetia, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and elsewhere, as well as at the global policy level. Since August 2015 Cate has been on secondment to the Nyein (Shalom) Foundation in Myanmar in the role of Senior Peacebuilding Adviser. Prior to this, from mid-2014 to mid-2015, she was the interim adviser and facilitator to the Myanmar Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process as well as consultant to the Nyein Foundation. She also conducted consultancy work for the Peace Support Fund related to their work on Women, Peace and Security. 

Joshua Kurlantzick


Joshua Kurlantzick is Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he studies Asian politics, rights, and economics. He also has done extensive work on asylum cases for nationals from Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and other Northeast, Southeast and South Asian nations. His work has included analyses of the political environment, judiciary, and state of political and civil rights in many South, Southeast, and Northeast Asian countries, as well as assessments of criminal syndicates and trafficking in these states. He has worked with more than ten U.K. firms and multiple U.S. firms on nearly thirty asylum cases. He is the author of five books on Southeast Asian politics, institutions, rights, and economics. Kurlantzick also has been a Visiting Scholar in the China program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy, a Columnist for Time, a Special Correspondent for The New Republic, an Asian Correspondent for The Economist, and a Contributing Writer for Mother Jones, among other positions. He has twenty years of experience covering events in Asia, and writing about rights issues in Asia, for a range of periodicals including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, the London Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, The Washington Quarterly,  and Foreign Policy, among others.

 More information is available at:

Other Resources

  • Reporters Without Borders has published a list of 10 “internet enemies”, i.e. countries that actively restrict access to the internet, censor content and pursue and imprison those who upload, contribute and view content which criticises the government. There are corresponding articles detailing the legal obstacles for internet users, and the consequences for those who fall foul of the law. Myanmar is on this list.
  • Online Burma/Myanmar Library Classified and annotated links to full text documents on Burma/Myanmar. The Library holds about 32,000 items, mostly in English but an increasing number in Burmese and other languages of Burma. The Library is free. It used to be blocked from inside Burma but is now accessible.
  • Myanmar Timeline Post Independence, a timeline that comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Internet Freedom

Reporters Without Borders has published a list of 10 “internet enemies”, i.e. countries that actively restrict access to the internet, censor content and pursue and imprison those who upload, contribute and view content which criticises the government. There are corresponding articles detailing the legal obstacles for internet users, and the consequences for those who fall foul of the law. Myanmar is on this list.