The Elders to visit Myanmar and Thailand from 12–18 December; Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair of The Elders); Martti Ahtisaari; Lakhdar Brahimi; Hina Jilani

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11 December 2014



The Elders to visit Myanmar and Thailand from 12–18 December

Press conference in Yangon on Thursday 18 December

On Friday 12 December 2014, four members of The Elders will begin a one-week visit to Thailand (12–13 December) and Myanmar (14–18 December).

Ahead of a pivotal year for Myanmar, the Elders are continuing their efforts to encourage progress towards an inclusive, democratic and just society that reflects the full diversity and talents of the Myanmar people, and to help bring about a lasting peace to ongoing conflict with different ethnic groups.

The Elders travelling to the region are:

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, former Director-General of the World Health Organization and Deputy Chair of The Elders  (delegation leader);
  • Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate;
  • Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria and United Nations envoy;
  • Hina Jilani, international human rights defender from Pakistan.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Elders will meet the Women’s League of Burma and other groups to discuss current concerns.

In Yangon, Myanmar, the Elders will have private meetings. In Nay Pyi Taw, they will have meetings with senior members of the Myanmar government, the armed forces and parliament.

This will be the third time that the Elders have travelled to Myanmar in little over a year. Following their first visit alongside fellow Elder Jimmy Carter (former US President) in September 2013, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Martti Ahtisaari returned to the country for the Elders’ second visit in March 2014.

About The Elders

The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.

The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina JilaniGraça MachelMary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.

Desmond Tutu is an honorary Elder.

Members of The Elders travelling to Myanmar and Thailand

Jimmy Carter Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair of The Elders) – delegation leaderGro Harlem Brundtland, a medical doctor, was Norway’s first woman Prime Minister, serving a total of ten years as head of government between 1981 and 1996. She chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development – known as the Brundtland Commission – which articulated the principle of sustainable development for the first time at a global level. She was Director-General of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change from 2007 to 2010 and, from 2011 to 2012, was a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel.
Martti Ahtisaari Martti Ahtisaari Martti Ahtisaari was President of the Republic of Finland from 1994 to 2000. A distinguished statesman, he is also a globally respected diplomat and peace mediator who has played a key role in ending conflicts in Aceh, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. As a senior diplomat he helped Namibia to achieve independence and was made an honorary citizen. In recognition of “his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts,” he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2008. He is Chair of Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).
Lakhdar Brahimi Lakhdar BrahimiLakhdar Brahimi joined Algeria’s liberation struggle as a student and later served his country as an ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993. In 1989 he brokered the Taif Agreement, which ended Lebanon’s civil war. He has represented the United Nations around the world, including in South Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. Widely respected as a ‘diplomatic troubleshooter’, he also chaired an independent panel in 2000 to review United Nations peacekeeping operations; the resulting ‘Brahimi Report’ made groundbreaking recommendations for change. He was most recently the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria.
Hina Jilani Hina JilaniHina Jilani is a pioneering lawyer and human rights defender. As an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, she has conducted many landmark cases setting new human rights standards in the country. She created Pakistan’s first all-women law firm and co-founded Pakistan’s first legal aid centre. She also founded its national Human Rights Commission and the Women’s Action Forum, a prominent pressure group at the heart of Pakistan’s democracy movement. She was the first Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008.



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