Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Annual Commemoration For The Disappeared

October 27th Annual Commemoration For The Disappeared Families of the Disappeared, Sri Lanka

The event organized annually by the Families of the Disappeared (FOD), was organized this year combined with Law and Society Trust ( LST ), Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust ( NTT ),Inform and Center for Peoples Diologue ( CPD )

The religious ceremony with a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and catholic priest , started the commemoration at 0930.

Two speeches were presented by the president (FOD) and the president of “The Injured Persons organization in Gwangju “ representing the May 18 Memorial Foundation- Gwangju- Korea Republic.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation donated two computers and a printer to the FOD.

The booklet” Clarifying the past &Commemorating SriLanka’s Disappeared” Published jointly by FOD, HumanRights Data Analysis Group, BeneTech (USA) and International Center for Transitional Justice was presented to the May 18 Memorial Foundation delegation, to the Clergy, Organizations representatives and to some family members of the disappeared. The full expenses for the book was beard by Ben Tech and ICTJ.

Then a picket was held in front of the monument, for about 15 minutes to show the responsible people and specially the government the anger against the disappearances and demanding the justice for the families of the disappeared.

“ Sadu Jaanarawa” the veteran singer Mr. Jayathilaka Bandara sang few songs in the memory of the disappeared.

The flower offering was the next event.

After that the alms giving to Buddhist monks was held at the nearby temple. Then the lunch was served to the participants.

About 340 attended and 22 representatives attended on behalf of the organizations.

The Conference

It was started at YMCA auditorium at 1330.

Participants -160

Organizations – 16

Political parties -03

It was started with a presentation about the disappearances and then followed on with sharing experiences of a mother, a child and a young wife from North and East.

Rev. Fr.Sathyawail shared his experiences about the North and East. The president Of the FOD, Mr. Brito Fernando raised some questions about the past and present activities against the disappearances saying finding the true answers to them will be helpful to organize our future activities.

Three speeches were given by the leaders of the three political parties, Dr. Wickramabahu Karunsarathna –New Left Front, Member of the Parlimant, Mr. Mano Ganeshan- Western People’s Front, Mr. Siritunga Jayasooriya – United Socialist Front, the presidential candidate at the last presidential elections.

They said the government should bear the responsibility for the disappearances taking place .The war is the main reason for the disappearances and we all should fight against the war if we want to stop the disappearances and it is a must. They all said though it is not that easy yet we should try to build a coalition to fight against this most cruel offence against the humanity.

Mr. Sudarshana Gunawardana spoke on behalf of the organization “ Rights Now “

A lively discussion took place with the family members, organization representatives and other individuals taking part.

After the discussion what were said was briefly put in writing with the demands for which we all agreed to campaign together in the future.

15 organizations signed the document and agreed to work together in the future. November 15th was agreed to meet again for further discussions and to invite the other organizations also to work together. The Document signed by 15 organizations is attached herewith.

The conference was over at 1830.

This event was supported by NTT, FLICT and The May 18 Memorial Foundation, Gwangju, Korea.

Families of the Disappeared

Speech for the Annual Commemoration for the Disappeared in 2007

First of all, I am very pleased to join in your significant event as a representative of Gwangju, Republic of Korea. My name is Kim Hu-sik, a president of the May 18 Resistance Association and also a board member of The May 18 Memorial Foundation.

I suffered and got wounded during the May 18, 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising because we were against the violence of dictatorial government. We also struggled hard for justice, rectify truth and regain the reputation of the patriots of May 18 for the last twenty-seven years. Today, standing here before you, it is very great honor for me as a Gwangju representative to deliver a speech at your annual commemoration for the Disappeared this year 2007.

In the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the citizens struggled against the violence committed by the government. But we have regained and win back the reputation of the people wanting freedom and democracy. So like you we are also commemorating the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising so the people will not forget those who offered their for our present liberty. However, I am very sad and so sorry that Sri Lanka is still in the process of finding out the truth and regaining the reputation of those who sacrificed their life for democracy.

We in Gwangju at that time got support from the world in recovering back and rectifying the proper image and reputation of May 18. The May 18 Memorial Foundation have been supporting your annual commemoration for the Disappeared since 2001 and cooperating with the Families of the Disappeared. I believe that solidarity and education programs here in Asia is another way to for Korea to maintain its legacy as a truly democratic nation. Without developing human rights and democracy in its neighborhood, we won't prosper and continue to develop our own Democracy in Korea.

However, the most important thing is your effort. You should continue with your effort to investigate the truth of the disappeared and to regain the disappeared´s good reputation. Unity and cooperation or solidarity is very important in this struggle. We have to realize that it is very challenging to achieve victory in our struggles for human rights and democracy. But we all have to keep our hope burning to realize our dreams.

Once again, I am very happy to be here with you in your annual commemoration for the Disappeared for 2007. Lastly, I give my thanks to the hosts of this event. Thank you.

Our commitment to struggle together against enforced disappearances

Enforced disappearances are one of the gravest crimes against humanity and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. One of the worst aspects of a disappearance, from the point of view of the family, is the unending grief, due to the lack of official acknowledgement of the fact that a loved one has actually disappeared, leaving no trace of what has happened to them.

October 27th 1989 was the day that Free Trade Zone worker Ranjith was shot and burnt at Raddoluwa junction. The killing of his legal advisor and the FTZ workers, and thousands of others who disappeared during that time, has been commemorated annually on 27th October since 1991.

Today, on 27th October 2007, 18 years after that tragic event, we have come together as family members of those subjected to enforced disappearances, in the late 1980s, 1990s and in 2006-2007, as Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, and other concerned individuals and groups, to share our grief, to stand together and to voice our opposition to this dreadful phenomenon that continues to grip our country.

Sri Lanka, home to great religious and spiritual traditions, first came to be known internationally as one of the countries in the where enforced disappearances happen on a mass scale in the late 1980s, particularly in the South of the country. This was in the context of the then regime’s brutal crackdown on the JVP insurgency, and young Sinhalese men were the main victims. In the 1990s, enforced disappearances became a regular occurrence in the North and East of the country, this time, in the context of successive regimes’ attempts to deal with Tamil militancy. This time, Tamil men and women were the main victims. The ceasefire of 2002 gave hope that these would finally come to a halt, but even as the international community said a firm NO to enforced disappearances by adopting the UN International Convention against Enforced Disappearances, this grave human rights violation reared its ugly head again in Sri Lanka, this time in the North, East and South of the country.

We know that a number of commissions and committees had been appointed to look into disappearances since the 1990s up to 2007. But some of their most important reports have not been published. Their recommendations have been ignored. Investigations and prosecutions have not been pursed based on their findings and, as a result, disappearances continue to happen on a large scale till today.

It is our wish that other families in Sri Lanka, and indeed all over the world, will never have to endure the immense pain inflicted on us by the enforced disappearances of loved ones, and not knowing what happened to them for years and years.

In addition to the enduring pain of losing loves ones, we note with sadness that family members of disappeared have to continue to struggle to live in dignity till today. We are pained to know that some family members, who wanted to attend this event today, could not do so due to poverty. Recommendations of government appointed commissions and our own work has not been able to ensure reasonable and equitable compensation, other assistance and justice for the family members of the disappeared.

It is with great regret that we realize that our past work against this phenomenon has not been enough to put a stop to this heinous crime against humanity.

Today, as family members of disappeared, human rights defenders, academics, political party representatives and Sri Lankans, we commit ourselves to join hands to continue this struggle. In particular, we commit ourselves to work together with family members of those disappeared, whether they are Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim and from all parts of the country.

We also take this opportunity to call all those responsible for enforced disappearances to immediately halt this terrible practice.

In particular, we call on the government to:

1. Acknowledge the large number of disappearances that have been reported since 2006, conduct credible investigations, prosecute alleged perpetrators and inform all concerned, particularly family members of disappeared, as to what had happened;

2. Not to heap further suffering on the family members by dismissing complaints on disappearances;

3. Immediately make public unpublished reports submitted to the President by various commissions of inquiry – in particular, the report presented by the Mahanama Tillekeratne Commission in 2007 and the unpublished sections of the report by the All Island Presidential Commission of Inquiry to inquire into enforced disappearances that was appointed in 1998 and presented to the then President in 2002;

4. Pay attention to the welfare of family members of the disappeared in late 1980s and 1990s, particularly by ensuring that they are given adequate compensation and other forms of assistance without any sort of discrimination

5. Take immediate steps to implement the recommendations made by the various Presidential Commission of Inquiries appointed to investigate enforced disappearances and the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances;

6. Amend the Penal Code to include the crime of disappearance and the concept of command responsibility within it;

7. Accept offered international assistance to address the issue of enforced disappearances by responding positively to the pending request since 2006 by the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances to visit the country;

8. Ratify UN International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances.

9. Establish an office of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Sri Lanka at least until the situation get better and to show the good will of the government under the leadership of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa who opposed the disappearances with us in 1989 to 1991 period

With the Solidarity of the Families Of the Disappeared

1. Human Rights Citizen’s Committee
2. SETIC – Kandy
3. Human Rights organization – Athugalpura
4. Young Christian Workers
5. Deevara Diriya Organization – Dickwella
6. United Socialist Party
7. Organization of the Members of the Disappeared Families
8. Law and Society Trust
9. Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust
10. Right to Life Human Rights Center
11. Rights Now
12. Center for Peoples Dialogue
13. Inform
14. Center for society and Religion
15. (Samagi Kirieme saha Sama Anshya)

Together in solidarity with families of the disappeared,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Grantees Selected for the 2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia (GDHRPA)

Congratulations to the six (6) organizations below chosen as grantee for the 2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia.The selection was made by a committee after carefully assessing the merits of the submitted proposals.Memorandum of Understanding will be sent to the grantees to seal approval to the the terms and conditions of the grant.

The 2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia (GDHRPA) supports work that contributes to promoting Democracy and Human Rights and building of international solidarity. The grant is awarded to non-government organizations in Asia who continually play a significant role in strengthening people’s participation and empowerment in creating a civil society that respect human rights and protect democracy and peace and encourages international solidarity.

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia
List of Grantees

a) Short-term grant - 2 organizations will be supported for specific project, which is up to
one year term ₩3,000,000.00 (single tranche)

WSCF AP Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Manual
World Student Christian Federation Asia Pacific (WCSF AP)
Hong Kong, SAR
Necta Montes Rocas (Regional Secretary)

Bringing CEDAW to the People: A Public Education Project on the CEDAW Convention and Issues Relevant to Women in Singapore
AWARE - Association of Women for Action and Research
Tashia Peterson (CEDAW Coordinator)

b) Mid-term grant - 2 organizations will be supported for specific project, the project can be
implemented for 2 years ₩2,500,000.00 per year (single tranche) or Total of KRW 5,000,000.00

Our Rights: Foundation of Human Development and the Future
TFDP - Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Quezon City, Philippines
Sr. Crescencia Lucero, SFIC (Exec. Director)

Alternative Education and Community Development for Displaced Children along the Burmese border, Mae Sot
Bangkok, Thailand
People's Partner for Development and Democracy (PPDD)
Anna Malindog (Executive Director)

c) Organizational grant - 2 organizations will be supported for their operating expenses for
specific project, the project can be implemented for 2 years ₩300,000/monthly for 2 years
or Total 7,200,000.00

Forwarding Democracy and Equality by Building Capacity of University Students in Malaysia
Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
Ooi Tze Min ( Sec. of Administration)

Forwarding Rights and Democracy by Building Capacity of Communtiy-based Youth in Malaysia
Maria Chin Abdullah (Director/Pres)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia


The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization established on August 30, 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the victims, families, and the citizens of Gwangju. The Foundation aims to commemorate and continue the spirit of struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Uprising, contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea, and work towards peace and human rights throughout the world. Since its establishment, the Foundation has carried out numerous projects in varying fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating public information, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The International Cooperation Team (ICT) undertakes the Foundation's international solidarity work throughout Asia and implement this project.


The 2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia (GDHRPA) supports work that contributes to promoting Democracy and Human Rights and building of international solidarity. This grant shall be awarded to non-government organizations in Asia who continually play a significant role in strengthening people’s participation and empowerment in creating a civil society that respect human rights and protect democracy and peace and encourages international solidarity.

Three types of funding are available: (US$ 1 = KRW 918.40, as of 11 October 2007)




a) Short-term grant

2 organizations will be supported for specific project, which is up to one year term

3,000,000 (single tranche)

b) Mid-term grant

2 organizations will be supported for specific project, the project can be implemented for 2 years

2,500,000 per year (single tranche) for 2 years

c) Organizational grant

2 organizations will be supported for their operating expenses for specific project, the project can be implemented for 2 years

300,000/monthly for 2 years

Other Information

In the past The May 18 Memorial Foundation have been supporting organizations with a yearly support amounting to ₩300,000 for the last two years. Those organizations includes:
• Asia NGO Center in Philippines.
• Advocacy Forum in Nepal.
• YPKP in Indonesia.
• PPDD in Thailand.

The National League for Democracy in Korea was given support for ₩200,000 yearly.


For this year the GDHRPA funding shall focus on the following:

• Publication, Education, Training and Research in the field of Democracy and Human Rights in Asia.
• Peace, Conflict Resolution, Women’s Rights, Children’s Rights, Labor Rights in Asia.
• Database and Net-work building.


• Applications only for the new project are eligible.
• Organizations or institutions who have been working on the above field for more than 3 years (applications from GO are not eligible).
• Eligible projects are those based in Asia.
• Organization grant is not available for individuals.
• Projects should not receive funding from other source (the foundation discourages co-founding from other funding sources).


Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their organization:
• is duly registered, has a constitution/by-laws, a clear management structure, efficient and effective financial control or systems.
• existing program on Democracy, Peace and Human Rights.
• demonstrate the capacity to effectively monitor project implementation, come up with regular evaluation and accomplishment (outcomes, output, and impact) reports once a year.

Application Procedure

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia will be closed on 19 October 2007. Related documents should be submitted as follows:

• Application Form (refer to the attachment).
• Project Proposal
• Financial or Accounting and Audit System (Internal or External Audit).
• Record of Funds for the last 2 years.
• Organizational profile, brochure and other related documents.

Application for funding must be submitted by post or e-mailed to Selected applicants will be informed on 24 October 2007. Insufficient application will not be accepted.

Contact Information

Mr. Chanho Kim
Director International Cooperation Team
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
Mobile: +82 10 4462 6650
The May 18 Memorial Foundation,
518 Memorial Culture Hall,
Postcode 502-260
Sangmudong Seo-gu, 1268
Gwangju, Korea Republic

Click link to download application form:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blogging Thency's Email - The RED STRINGS

Dear all,

Warm greetings....hope everyone is doing well and in the best of health.

Earlier today, in one of my yahoo groups I came across an email from someone who felt that the circulation of emails, regarding Burma and requests for others to send e-mails urging the concerned parties to take some action with regards to the situation in Burma as spam. I wonder if anyone else feels like this.....I must say that email and the way it was worded kind of shook me.

I mean if you think it's spam, don't pass it on..... Oh well...I guess everyone has their own reasons for reacting the way that they do....Has anyone here come across reactions like that?

On a different note.....there is something I would like to share......I do wonder sometimes if some of the things we do can actually make a difference......but then....I just feel that you know if an action no matter how small....can give people a sense of solidarity and people want to do it...and no one is being harmed then why not......

So on that note...I came across this group that has initiated this action of wearing red solidarity strings as a show of support and solidarity. I thought I'd just pass it on. No compulsion here.... :) It's okay if you are unable to join this or if it's not your cup of tea...but do pass this on to others who might be interested......Thanks a million.......


ps : sorry for crossposting :P


Why Red Strings?
In the Buddhist tradition, wearing a monk-blessed string around the wrist is for a blessing or for good luck. We would like people to show support for the monks and people of Burma by wearing red string bracelets as an enduring symbol of the struggle for Burmese freedom. We chose red because it is similar to the color of the monks' robes and because it is the color already associated with this movement.

How Can I Participate?

PLAN A: Bring string to your local temple and ask the monks to bless it. Tell them why and offer a donation, if you can. Be sure to bring enough for your friends!

PLAN B: The website r will soon be available where you can order a blessed string, if you cannot access a temple yourself.

Traditionally, the ritual involves one friend tying the string around another's wrist with a blessing or a wish. The blessing lasts as long as the bracelet, so you wear the bracelet until it falls off, You can give away as many as you desire and you can receive all that are offered. Most importantly, keep it red for solidarity and remember to tell people why you are wearing it -spread the word!

What If I Can't Find A Temple?
Find the nearest temple at

Some Simple Guidelines:

**Please, do not wear the string as an anklet as this is disrespectful in Buddhism.**

**For the same reason, please remember to remove your shoes before entering a temple.**

**Everyone: show respect to the monks' "higher" status in Buddhism by remaining lower -if they are sitting, you must not be standing**

**Try to wear bracelet on your right wrist so as not to confuse with kabbalah**

Show Your Support for the Monks!

Thanks everyone who helped with the idea,
cheers! Kim McConnell

Global protests call for UN Security Council action on Burma/Myanmar

Media Release: Embargoed until 00:01 Saturday 6th October

(includes advisory details for international events)

Global protests call for UN Security Council action on Burma/Myanmar:

Thousands/Hundreds expected on streets of YOUR CITY

Tens of thousands of campaigners are expected to take to the streets of capital cities around the world today (Saturday), including YOUR CITY, to call for urgent UN action on Burma/Myanmar.

The campaigners are standing in for the monks under arrest and those who would be shot if they tried to protest in Burma/Myanmar.

“Our friends and families in Burma cannot take to the streets so today we will do it for them. We may be far away but that does not mean we are powerless - we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and keep the world’s attention focussed on their plight,” said Myo Thien, a Burmese refugee who fled the country in 2003.

Protests will start at 12-noon in dozens of countries around the world and on five continents (for a list of events and contact details please see editor’s notes).

The international day - supported by the Burma Campaign, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Congress, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Avaaz, the US Campaign for Burma and hundreds of other groups - is calling for UN Security Council action to address the crisis.

Campaigners are also urging the international community to do more to keep the pressure on the Burmese/Myanmar government until the military crackdown ends and all political prisoners are released.

“Because the media pictures have gone and we can’t see what’s happening does not mean the crisis has ended, far from it. Now is the time we need to draw attention to what’s happening behind closed doors or atrocities will increase. Today we’re saying we haven’t forgotten you, we are watching,” said a spokesperson for the campaign.

Around the world campaigners will wear red headbands in solidarity with the monks under arrest and tie these onto government buildings, religious shrines or key landmarks to signify the thousands of lives currently hanging in the balance.

In INSERT YOUR CITY, the day of action will be INSERT DETAILS OF YOUR EVENT (This should include times, location and an explanation of the photo opportunity)

“The NAME government must do more to end this crisis. The media pressure may have decreased but the people of YOUR COUNTRY are saying we expect you to act to end the violations of basic human rights,” said INSERT LOCAL ORANISERS NAME, who is organising the INSERT CITY events.

Editors Notes:

For more details or interview please contact:


Country, City


Start Time. [Date is 6th October unless stated otherwise].

Contact: Phone/Email



Bring banners, placards,

saffron colored shirts.


Amnesty International Australia + 61 2 92 17 76 00

For all others:

Australian Burmese Network

+61 (0) 422463178


Rally: Monk Gyosei Masunga will 'play the drums - for peace in Burma' at Stock im Eisen (near Stephansplatz). Wear red


Austrian Burma Campaign

+43 (0) 699 1000 7645

BELGIUM, Brussels

March at Place de la Liberté.


Amnesty International Belgium (fr)
+ 32 2 538 81 77

Arnaud Collignon

Clarence Jameson



Candlelight vigil and march which will begin in front of the China Consulate.


Mynthura Wynn: 416-533-3656 or C: +! 416-882-3868, Ulla Laidlaw: +1 416-605-2588, Carol Lee:+1 647-588-9758





DENMARK, Copenhagen

Rally at Chinese Embassy


5th Oct



Rally at Parvis des droits de l'homme du Trocadero


Vassaly Sitthivong contact details to follow.










INDIA, Bangalore

New Dehli








Dr. Zawwin Aung

Burmese Trade Union Leader

+91 9871 578 569


Rally with flowers at O'Connell Bridge


+353 1 286 0497










Kula Lumpur

Rally at KLCC (entrance near the Menara Maxis)

20.00 5th Oct

Moon Hui and K. Shan + 60 3-77843525, +60 3-79552680

MONGOLIA, Sukhbaatar

Multi-faith rally


Amnesty International Mongolia
+976 11 324 705



Rally at Civic Square


Andrea Valentin

Amnesty International NZ
+ 64 4 499 3349 (for Christchurch and Dunedin)






Demonstration, wear red


Kathrine Sund, contact details TBD


Rally at the Company Gardens


Craig Ackermann


Rally at Burmese Embassy



SPAIN, Barcelona

Day of Action for Burma


Concha Pinós

+34 639419772


Rally at Mimerskolans Bollplan


Markus Maunula,

+46 47 22 47 92 37


Rally at 1242 Satigny


Assoc. Suisse-Birmanie

+41 12-13564-9





TAIWAN, Taipai

Rally at National Taiwan Democracy Hall, wear red


Peter Dearman


San Francisco

Washington DC

Justin Herman Plaza

March from Burmese-

Chinese- Indian embassies



Thelma, Campaigns Coordinator

U.S. Campaign for Burma

1444 N Street, NW, Suite A2

Washington, DC 20005

Tel: (202) 234 8022

Fax: (202) 234 8044




March with monks from Tate Museum, wear red


+44 (0) 20 7324 4748,

+ 44 (0) 7791 586 211

Mark Farmaner The Burma Campaign UK

+44 (0) 7941 239 640, +44 (0) 207324 4713