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JULY newsletter: Asia-focused issue

Contents Opening statement on the Hong Kong National Security Law Breaking news: Executions in Myanmar Writers and articles in focus Activities completed and achievements Upcoming activities Letter-writing campaign Opening statement – 2 years into the Hong Kong National Security Law When Britain handed Hong Kong to China in 1997, the expectation was that Beijing would…

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JUNE newsletter: Post-election issue

Contents: – Opening statement from our patron and honorary member, Peter Greste– Australian writers in-focus– Events we held/attended– Brief overseas update – Ukraine– What’s happening next? Opening statement(from patron and honorary member Peter Greste) In an era when everyone’s nonsense detectors are dialled up to 11, you’d have thought the Liberal party might have been…

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URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Letter Writing Campaign

PEN International recently condemned the Myanmar military junta’s public declaration they intend to proceed with the execution of author and activist Kyaw Min Yu (also known as Ko Jimmy), who was arrested in 2021 for criticising the military coup in social media posts. Kyaw Min Yu, along with opposition lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, has been…

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URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Julian Assange

The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel will make her decision on Julian Assange’s extradition on 18th May. That’s only 5 days away. It’s not too late to help. If extradited, Assange faces a 175-year sentence in a maximum security prison, most likely in solitary confinement. Why? Because he exposed war crimes. He published the truth.…

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MAY Newsletter – World Press Freedom Day special

‘Only the foolish would argue the fact of pluralism or deny its existence. Only the heinous would try to extinguish it. And only extremely foolish and heinous governments would try to extinguish it through repression and the imprisonment of dissidents, writers, journalists, social critics, and democracy and human rights activists.’ Pham Doan Trang’s final statement…

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April 2022 Newsflash – Julian Assange

Who is Julian Assange? The world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes. Julian Assange is a journalist, publisher and the founder of Wikileaks. Wikileaks is a site created for whistleblowers to safely leak information…

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March 2022 newsletter

Contents Opening message featuring Andrey Kurkov Upcoming event(s): Patron’s Lecture featuring Kylie Moore-Gilbert Emergency headline: Ukraine-Russia conflict Australian writers in prison: Yang Hengjun and Julian Assange Oceania focus: Hany Babu (India) and Zaw Lin Htut (Burma) Notable women writers and journalists Opening message COVID starts its third year of chaos. Combat continues in Ukraine and…

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Free Hany Babu

‘21 February each year was International Mother Language Day. PEN International joins worldwide observations of International Mother Language Day, which celebrates the importance of linguistic diversity around world’ The idea for such a day originated from Bangladesh, which won its independence from Pakistan in 1971 after a long struggle in which the linguistic rights of…

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Image Credit: Twitter

Professor in Prison: The Curious Case of Hany Babu

On 28 July 2020, human rights defender Hany Babu was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mumbai. He is now the twelfth accused arrested for his alleged involvement in the violence that broke-out at Bhima Koregan on 1 January 2018.

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Pham Doan Trang before her imprisonment
Image Credit: Al Jazeera

A Letter to Đoan Trang Phạm

At our recent Human Rights Day event, PEN Perth Member Frances An read a touching letter to journalist Đoan Trang Phạm. PEN Perth is proud to publish the letter here, written and translated by Frances An.

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Sudan Reading

On Tuesday 23 November PEN Perth held a reading to protest the military coup which took place on 25 October in Sudan. Read the summary and two featured poems here.

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Image Credit: Sikarin Thanachaiary

Nobel Peace Prize 2021

Maria Ressa shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with fellow journalist, Dimitri Muratov from Russia. Ressa, notably, is the first Filipino Nobel Laureate.

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Image Credit: Emiliano Bar

Writers in Prison Committee Meeting

On 14 September, representatives from over 60 PEN Centres convened for its annual Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) meeting. The meeting drew attention to the critical situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s recent takeover means that Afghan writers, activists, and cultural practitioners—especially women—face imminent danger.

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Image Credit: Kelly Fliedner

Securing Writers’ Rights

As in previous years, PEN International held pre-conference discussions for its main committees, including the Writers for Peace Committee and the Linguistic Rights Committee, which I was able to attend via Zoom, albeit at an unusual hour as the conference ran on London time.

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Image Credit: Kelly Fliedner

Report on the PEN International World Congress 2021

The Centenary World Congress of PEN was held via Zoom from 20-24 September, with the four Committee meetings held in the previous week. The Congress held some fascinating panel discussions on issues related to freedom of expression with participants such as Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, as well as talks by John Ralston Saul, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ma Thida and others.

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2021 AGM Minutes

The third Annual General Meeting of PEN Perth was held on 26 August at the Centre for Stories. A new committee was elected, with Rania Ghandour and Rita Saggar joining and Robert Wood standing down.

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Image Credit: Leah Jing McIntosh

PEN Perth Chair Report 2020-2021

My Chair’s report for the year 2020-2021 is a little different. That is for two reasons, the first being organisational as it is the 100 year celebration of our international community, and the second being personal, because it is my final report as Chair.

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Check out PEN Perth’s upcoming events.


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