James Rupert Russell Mawdsley is a Catholic Priest in the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, who is also a human rights activist campaigning for democracy in Burma. He is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Australia.
Mawdsley was born in 1973. His parents are David and Diana, and he has three siblings. He gave up his study at Bristol University, and while backpacking met Burmese refugees who engaged his interest in the plight of ethnic minorities in Burma.
Burmese activism and imprisonment
Mawdsley took up teaching English at a Burmese refugee camp, and became further involved when government forces burnt down the school.
He was arrested three times for his involvement and deported three times. The second arrest was in 1998 for handing out stickers and playing songs for the pro-democracy movement. On arrest he was tortured for 15 hours, and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, which was suspended after 98 days. He was rearrested a third time in 1999 for illegal entry and sedition, and was sentenced to seventeen years in jail. His imprisonment was held to be arbitrary by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2000. This time he spent 415 days in solitary confinement before his release in October 2000 after pressure was exerted by the United Kingdom Foreign Office on the authorities in Myanmar.
External activism and politics
In February 2003 he co-authored New Ground with Benedict Rogers, a pamphlet advocating foreign policy based around freedom, dignity and the rule of law. This document has helped give rise to the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, founded in 2005.
At the 2004 European Parliament election, Mawdsley was a candidate on the Conservative Party list for the North West England. Howeverm he was placed ninth on the list, so was not one of the three Conservatives who won a seat. In the UK 2005 general election, he unsuccessfully contested the Hyndburn constituency for the Conservative Party.
Priestley Fraternity of St.Peter
- "British activist jailed in Burma". BBC News. 2 September 1999. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Lane, Harriet (9 January 2000). "'I half want my son to stay in his Burma jail hell'". The Observer. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "James Mawdsley v. Myanmar". Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/14/Add.1 at 124. University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. 2000. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "2000: British activist freed from Burma". BBC On This Day. 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Dr Fox reaches out to right in confident performance
- "Hyndburn". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "Result: Hyndburn". Election 2005. BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Mawdsley, James (2001). The heart must break : the fight for democracy and truth in Burma. London: Century. ISBN 9780712679213.
- Mawdsley, James (2001). The iron road : a stand for truth and democracy in Burma (1st American ed.). New York: North Point Press. ISBN 9780865476370.
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