Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington Director for the Asia division of New York -based Human Rights Watch, died of natural causes on May 1st. He was 53.
"Mike was deeply committed to human rights throughout the world, especially Asia and certainly in Burma," said Jo Becker, his colleague at Human Rights Watch.
Mr. Jendrzejczyk first became involved in human rights as a Vietnam war protester in the 1970's. He worked for Amnesty International in the 1980's.
"Mike was the leading human rights advocate for the people of Burma, he wrote many articles and testified before congressional hearings about Burma's human rights record," said Sunda Khin of Justice and Human Rights in Burma.
In extending his condolence Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma said Mr. Jendrzejczyk was a true champion for the people of Burma.
Jeremy Woodrum of Free Burma Coalition said Mr. Jendrzejczyk was a very principled human being.
Hlwan Moe, a Burmese human rights activist who was the last Burmese to meet Mr. Jendrzejcyk, expressed profound sadness at the loss of a friend of 50 million Burmese people who cherished democracy and freedom.
Many NGO's, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Congress sent letters of condolence. Mr. Jendrzejczyk was particularly respected for his knowledge of China, the World Bank, U.S. foreign policy in Asia, Burma, North Korean refugees and Tibet.