In memory of Judith Rodríguez (1936-2018)

PEN International is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, colleague and fearless defender of free expression, Judith Rodríguez. PEN International President, Jennifer Clement, said: ‘The news of Judith’s death is not just heartbreaking for PEN and its members, but also for me personally. I have lost a dear friend and confidant. Judith dedicated her life to the promotion of literature, and the defence of the voiceless. While we mourn this monumental loss, her legacy will continue through her extraordinary poetry and through PEN’s work […]

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Uganda must release academic Stella Nyanzi and drop all charges against her

Stella Nyanzi 2 November 2018 – PEN International and PEN Uganda are deeply concerned by the recent arrest and ongoing trial of the prominent Ugandan academic, writer and activist, Dr. Stella Nyanzi. Nyanzi was arrested on 2 November 2018 and charged with “cyber harassment” and “offensive communication” following messages she allegedly posted on Facebook about President Yoweri Museveni’s mother. Following a trial hearing on 9 November, Nyanzi was remanded in custody until the next hearing (22 November); she faces up to one year in jail […]

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THE COLOR OF HER DRESS

Lê Anh Dũng Quietly sitting at a table, before a glass of beer that still had one third of the alcohol, with his head leaned forward, he was repeating what everybody could hardly hear. There was only one thing they could notice was his constant smile. Once in a while he looked at the street as if waiting for someone. It was a few days ago, he began to come to this restaurant, looking for a seat at a hidden corner, ordered a bottle […]

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Viet Nam: blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh released into exile

Me Nam reunited with her family at the airport (photo courtesy of Dan Lam Bao) PEN International welcomes the release of blogger and government critic Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known by her pen name Me Nâm (‘Mother Mushroom’), on 17 October 2018. Me Nam had been serving a 10-year prison sentence for “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam” under Article 88 of the Penal Code when she was reportedly taken directly to Ha Noi International Airport and put on a […]

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Oral Statement on Eritrea to the African Commission, October 2018

Idris Said Aba Arre, one of the 12 journalists detained during September and October 2001 Presented to the African Commission by Musa Sheriff on behalf of PEN International Madam Chairperson, honourable Commissioners, all protocols observed, PEN International would like to welcome the positive developments in Eritrea’s relations with Ethiopia. We hope that the Eritrean authorities will embrace the potential for change inherent in the recent peace deal and the opening of the border and take meaningful steps to improve the situation for freedom of expression […]

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Myanmar: PEN’s Writers for Peace Committee supports the calls of the UN for peace, respect and justice for all in the country

5 September 2018 – We, the Writers for Peace Committee (WfPC) of PEN International are deeply troubled by the findings of United Nation’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission report which details crimes systematically carried out by the Myanmar military against ethnic communities in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states which “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law”. Common to all of the military’s operations were the targeting of civilians, sexual violence, an exclusionary rhetoric and impunity for crimes committed. According to the UN report […]

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