Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan

Dear Friend

I am writing today with very sad news. On Thursday 14th February Padoh Mahn
Sha, the father of one of our staff members, Zoya Phan, was assassinated by
agents of the military regime in Burma. Two gunmen came to his house and
shot him in the chest.

Padoh Mahn Sha was General Secretary of the Karen National Union, which
represents the Karen ethnic group in Burma in their struggle for democracy
and human rights.

He was a greatly respected leader who had dedicated his life for the
struggle for freedom. He was killed because of his effective and principled
stand against the regime.

His assassination is yet more evidence, as if it were needed, that the
regime is determined to cling on to power, no matter what. They see leaders,
such as Padoh Mahn Sha, who speak out for freedom and justice, as a threat
to their survival.

Many of you will have seen Zoya Phan speak at events and on television news
or seen her articles in our magazine. You can view some of her speeches on
our website at

Zoya and her brothers and sister have set up a fund in memory of their
father. Donations can be made online at The fund
will be used to tackle poverty and provide education in Karen state, two
issues very close to Padoh Mahn Sha¹s heart. Please visit You can donate by credit card from any country or
you can send a cheque made out to ŒBurma Campaign UK¹ and post it to Padoh
Mahn Sha Fund, care of Burma Campaign UK, 28 Charles Square, London N1 6HT,

A statement from the children of Padoh Mahn Sha, released on the day of his
death, follows below.

Anna Roberts
Director, The Burma Campaign UK

Statement from the children of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan

We are very sad to lose a great father and a great leader.

We were lucky to have a father who was caring and full of love. He gave us
guidance and support, and taught us tolerance and to stand against
injustice. He could not give us wealth or luxury, but ensured that we had an
education and the opportunity to fulfill our potential

He was always humble, yet a strong and brave leader. He dedicated his life
to the struggle, and always put the welfare of his people and his country
before himself. His example of determination and self-sacrifice to win our
freedom won him the love and respect of not just the Karen people, but also
the Burmese democracy movement and of freedom loving people around the

He will be remembered by many not only as an inspirational leader, but also
on a personal level for the many acts of kindness he performed for those who
needed help.

We are proud to be his children, as all Karen people and all people who long
for freedom in Burma are proud of him.

Our father may be dead, but we will remember him. He taught us that it was
our duty to work for the Karen people, and as his children we will continue
his dedicated work towards true freedom for our people and peace in our

His determination for freedom and democracy lives on within us and within
the Karen people. He did not live to see freedom for our people, but his
dream will be fulfilled. The Karen, and all the people of Burma, will be

We will be establishing a foundation in memory of our father. Donations can
be made online at

Saw Say Say
Nant Bwa Bwa Phan
Nant Zoya Phan
Slone Phan

A brief biography of Padoh Mahn Sha

Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan was born in Rangoon on 5th July 1943.
He graduated from Rangoon University in 1966 with a degree in history.

He joined the Karen National Union (KNU) in 1963. In 1964 he became a member
of the KNU Central Committee, and was elected Joint General Secretary in
1995. He was elected General Secretary in 2000, and is also a member of the
Secretariat of the National Council of the Union of Burma, the umbrella
organisation representing organisations in the Burmese democracy movement.

Padoh Mahn Sha married Nant Kyin Shwe in 1976. She passed away on 31st July
2004. He is survived by four children, two sons and two daughters; Saw Say
Say, Nant Bwa Bwa Phan, Nant Zoya Phan, Slone Phan

To make a donation to the Padoh Mahn Sha fund, please visit

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