Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dr. Lenin congratulates Muneer A Malik of Pakistan

Dr. Lenin Convener of Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and winner of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights express his kind views to the winner of 2008, Advocate Munir Malik of Pakistan. Dr. Lenin said Ad. Malik deserves advocate of Pakistan who is struggling for the restoration of Judiciary in Pakistan.

Lenin''s Words for Muneer:

My heartily congratulation to advocate, Mr. Muneer A Malik for being awarded by 2008 Gwangju prize for Human Rights. Mr. Munir is an eminent lawyer who gave his valuable contributions being as a President of the Supreme Court Bar Association i.e. constitutional liberalism, human rights and rule of law, fundamental of democracy. I bestow my best wishes to Mr. Munir as he intended to use the prize money to "Save the Constitution and promote Democracy". I am very much agreed with his statement about the condition of Human Rights in Asia, the situation is Asia is far from desirable. We see an increasing tendency towards authoritarian rule, abuse of human rights, lack of access to justice, increasing poverty and inequality. These are issues that we need to mobilize public opinion and mass action. After watching the entire struggle of Mr. Munir and other eight lawyers I greet for their valuable contribution for restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

I appeal to him that he will concentrate on grass root restoration of democracy in Pakistan i.e. elimination of caste based patriarchal feudal society and establishment of rule of law and participatory democracy in sustainable way.

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi is the symbol of resistance to millions of Dalits fighting for dignity in India. Lenin is credited with changing the discourse on Dalit Politics in India and bringing into focus an innovative "people centric" approach to reclaim "human dignity" in a caste ridden Indian society. The gamut of Lenin's activities reflects his personal and ideological span and provides credibility and a sense of completeness to the work he does. His care for details, meticulous planning, diligent patience, and sincere advocacy of the issue of the marginalized, has made millions of his supporters optimistic about a dignified future.

Lenin's views on caste, conflict and social change took shape while he worked with bonded laborers. He was born into a high caste Hindu family which he describes as "feudal." He noticed that not a single child bonded in the sari or carpet industries came from an upper caste, even though some high-caste families were often just as poor as the lower castes. He realized that caste, not class, was at work. By the end of 1996, Lenin was championing the rights of lower-caste people. Early experiences taught him that confrontation was dangerous and not the most effective method. Increasingly, Lenin recognized caste in all kinds of social conflict and envisioned a movement that could break the closed, feudal hierarchies of conservative slums and villages by building up local institutions and supporting them with a high profile and active human rights network.

Mr. Muneer A. Malik was the former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association who has played an enormous role in the struggle of the lawyers, judges and the rest of the citizens of Pakistan for the independence of the judiciary. Under his leadership he was able to mobilize lawyers and the people to fight the repression imposed by President Musharraf when he declared an emergency and ousted several chief justices and judges. In the 1980's Mr. Malik had been in the forefront of the struggle against the military rule of then President Zia Ul Haq. Mr. Malik was recipient of the 2006 Dorab Patel Award given by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights was established to celebrate the spirit of the May 18 Gwangju Uprising by recognizing individuals, groups and institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy and peace in their work. The prize is awarded by the citizens of Gwangju in the spirit of solidarity and gratitude to those who have helped them in their struggle for democratization and their search for truth. It is hoped that through this award, the spirit and message of May 18 will be immortalized

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Valedictory Speech of Munir Malik

May 18 known as 518, is one of Gwangju's most significant dates. The annual commemoration is a tradition that has been observed by the families of the victims which the government only instituted in 1995. So for this year, President Lee Myungbak came to The May 18 National Cemetery to lead and address this event to pay respect to the spirits of the heroes and victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. It is also an important date for Gwangju citizens and the Korean public in bestowing honor and recognition to group or individuals by awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

For 2008 this award is given to Mr. Muneer Malik for his role in protecting the independence of Pakistan's judiciary, defending its constitution and promoting human rights. Mr. Malik was the former President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association. He led the struggle in fighting against the attempt made by President Musharraf to oust the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in order to protect human rights and the independence of the judiciary.

So on May 18, 2008 at 5:00 PM, Mr. Malik was awarded the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The ceremony was graced by Mr. Kwangjang Yoon, Chairman of The May 18 Memorial Foundation; Mr. Youngmin Noh, a member of the Korean Parliament who read the citation of Mr. Malik; Mr. Kyunghwan An, Chairperson of the National human Rights Commission of Korea; and representative of Mr. Gwangtae Park, Mayor of Gwangju who read his congratulatory message. It was witnessed by the participants of the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum and the citizens of Gwangju. The event was widely covered by the media. Korean musical artists and KBS Children’s Choir serenaded Mr. Malik for their congratulation.

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Promoting 518 Events: 2008 GIPF and Nanjang-Human-Free Concert

2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum (2008 GIPF)

Nanjang-Human-Free Concert

On May 13, 2008 we promoted and posted the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum (2008 GIPF) and the 2008 Nanjang-Human-Free Concert posters in the following University:

1. Chonnam University
The front gate of Chonnam University is where the historic May 18 Democratic Uprising started. At midninght of May 17, 1980, when the nation was put under martial law, martial troops deployed inside the Chonnam National University campus started clubbing students without mercy and carried many of them off to an illegal detention. Around 10 AM of May 18, students gathered and protested at the front gate of Chonnam National University against the martial troops that blocked the entrance of the university. This was the first clash that led the student to demonstrate at Gwangju Station and Geumnam-ro. During the period, the martial troops hauled the arrested citizens into the Science Department Building. The mass beatings led to some deaths and the bodies were buried on the campus and later excavated. The science Department Building was destroyed when the front gate was rebuilt. The Yongbong-cheon (Yongbong Stream) and a bridge crossing it are now covered with earth.

2. Chosun University
Students from this university together with Chonnam University had led the local democratization movement even before the May 18 Uprising. Chosun University students played a pivotal role in the leading group of the citizen's force during the uprising. The martial forces advanced to this campus right after the government expanded the scope of martial law across the nation which went into effect at midnight of May 17. The campus was also a place where many arrested citizens and students were cruelly treated and detained in gyms and makeshift tents by the club-wielding martial forces.

These universities are famed as important symbol of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. In the 1980's students from these universities lead demonstrations together with the Gwangju citizens against military dictatorship.

We also spread some brochures in the following places:

1. Gwangju Bus Terminal (U-Square)
During the uprising the former Intercity Bus Terminal site was the transportation hub to cities and countries all over Jeonnam. In the afternoon of May 19, a large-scale rally was held here in protest against the excessive crackdown by martial force. The troops stormed even into the waiting room of the terminal and underpass next to it and wielded bayonet indiscriminately, instantly turning the place into a bloody scene and a state of confusion. The news of the military brutality was quickly spread to every place especially the Jeonnam areas by people who left Gwangju by intercity buses. This place was once used by paeatroopers as their quarter.

2. Gwangju Station Square
The square was the scene of fierce fights between the citizens of Gwangju and the martial troops during the May 18 Democratic Uprising. On the night of May 20, the heated demonstrations were met by martial troops with gunfire directed at the unarmed crowd protesting against the bloody suppression and atrocities. Besides the many injured citizens, two dead bodies were found on the morning of May 21. The bodies were carried to the Jeonnam Provincial Hall Square, stirring the anger of tens of thousands of citizens of the Democratic Uprising.

These places are also symbolic of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising.

In the case at the university, we first ask for permit from the university student leaders council to post the posters. Posting those posters is aimed at announcing 518 events to the university students and for university journalist to cover it.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Campaign against torture in India

In the third year of the implementation of the EU-FNF supported National Project on Prevention of Torture in India, the focus is on the advocacy and lobbying. The fact finding and intervention data in all the nine states are complete and cases are identified for hearings during the state level public tribunals. The recently concluded Public Tribunal in Varanasi (28-29 April, 2008) was a very important event in the state of Uttar Pradesh from the point of civil society groups and its campaign for individual rights.
Read more here:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Labrang Monastery

The situation at Labrang Monastery in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County is
extremely tense today. Thousands of People's Armed Police (PAP) and
Public Security Bureau (PSB) personnels have surrounded Labrang
Monastery in the aftermath of arrest of hundreds of monks, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

On 7 May 2008, thousands of PAP and PSB officers (estimated around 5000) surrounded Labrang Monastery and carried a sudden raid in the monastery. During the raid, around 140 monks were arrested and taken away for detention. The next day a large number of monks of the monastery protested calling for the release of the monks arrested on the previous day. The authorities upon fearing the protest to escalate further, released all the detained monks except for 18 monks. However, the monks continued to call for the release of the remaining 18 monks and the authorities gave in by releasing another 11 out of the 18 monks today morning.

Despite additional contingents of armed police arriving at the monastery, monks in large number have again protested against the authorities to release the remaining seven monks but the authorities flatly refused to do so, challenging the monks to take any counter measure. TCHRD fears the protest might intensify and result in bloodshed as the monks are learned to be determined to secure the release of the remaining seven monks at all cost. Defiant monks dissappear In another confirmed information received from the area, two monks who defiantly spoke out in front of the government managed media tour in Sangchu County on 7 April 2008, are known to be have been disappeared. Shortly after the media visit to the area, Thabkhey and Tsundue, have disappeared. The local Tibetan residents fear that the police have secretly lifted them for their defiant action which caused major embarrassment to the government of the People's Republic of China. The family members of the two monks have approached the local PSB headquarters regarding their whereabouts, however, the authorities feigned ignorance about the two. Till date, nobody knows about their whereabouts and the family members live in anxiety over fear of them being killed extrajudicially.

TCHRD believes that this is a case of enforced and involuntary disappearance enacted by the state law enforcement bodies. The Centre fears that the two monks might be extrajudicially killed if timelyintervention is not effected by the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID). The Centre appeals the UNWGEID to issue an express intervention on the whereabouts of the two monks.

Tashi Phuntsok (Mr.)
Information Officer
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
Gangchen Kysihong
Dharamsala H.P

India Phone: 01892-223363/229225
Cell no: 9418055622

Portraits of the Dalai Lama in Ngaba Kirti Monastery destroyed by Chinese authorities

Around 28 March 2008, a strong contingent of People's Armed Police and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials stormed the Ngaba Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County, Sichuan Province, to search for incriminating materials in the monastery. Earlier hard evidence in the form of photographs depicting the authorities brutal crack down on the protests which led to death of scores of Tibetans in the area have reached the outside world causing major embarrassment to the government of the People's Republic of China. During the raid the officials ransacked each and every room in the monastery thus insulting and harassing the monks.

The pictures below depict portraits of the Dalai Lama on display at the monastery prayer wheel hut which were either pierced, torn, scrubbed or removed by the officials during the raid.

See some pictures here:

Dalai Lama and George W. Bush

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Month of May

This is the month of May, a time to commemorate once again the heroes and patriot of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. For this year The May 18 Memorial Foundation have prepared various activities to commemorate May 18 dubbed as The May 18.

Please visit the following links for the schedule of activities:

Similar/Related Links:

[People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)] Interview of Dr: LENIN RAGHUVANSHI

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi has become a symbol for millions of Dalits fighting for their dignity in India. His approach to the struggle constantly puts the person at the centre and urges respect for the human dignity of all people belonging to India's lowest castes.

The work of Lenin Raghuvanshi marks a shift in the Indian movement for human rights; he is one of a relatively few activists who insist that caste-based discrimination goes against democratic principles. In Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – one of the most traditionalist, conservative and segregationist regions in India – Lenin, with a few resources but plenty of confidence and determination, has managed within a short time to bring the problems facing marginalized people to national and international attention.

In 2004, to give voice to those who are marginalized, the Jan Mitra Gaon' was born, also known as 'People-friendly village'. This is a pilot project in which Lenin adopted three villages and a slum, where plans include reopening an elementary school, abolishing forced labour, making education for girls obligatory and spreading non-traditional education. There is no elementary education in vast rural areas but the PVCHR has opened educational centres for children in 45 villages.

Please Visit:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

ASEAN welcomes talks between China and Dalai Lama's envoys

DPA[Wednesday, May 07, 2008 18:50]

Singapore, May 7 - Senior officials from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) welcomed the Chinese government's talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama and expressed confidence that the Beijing Olympics will be a success, ASEAN chairman Singapore said on Wednesday. The ASEAN countries were briefed on recent development in Tibet by the Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs during a senior officials meeting in the city-state.

"They welcomed the restoration of normalcy and the latest move of the Chinese government to have contact and consultation with the private representative of the Dalai Lama," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

A closed-door meeting was held on Sunday in southern China's city of Shenzhen, breaking a deadlock after riots in Tibet triggered international protests over Chinese rule of the territory and the government's handling of demonstrations that started in Lhasa on March 10.

"Linking the Tibetan issue with the Beijing Olympics will serve no purpose other than to politicize the games," the ministry said. Singapore is currently the ASEAN chairman, a position that is rotated each year.

"It is in the interest of the region that a long-term solution be found that addresses the concerns of the Tibetan people while respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement noted.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has called for autonomy rather than independence. China has been accusing his supporters of trying to sabotage Beijing's hosting of the Olympics. The Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile are based in Dharamsala in northern India.

"The ASEAN members also expressed confidence that the Beijing Olympics would be a success," the ministry said.

ASEAN includes Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Read more topic about Tibet here:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

China's Legal Wrangle of Tibetan Popular Uprising

From: Tashi Phuntsok
Date: May 5, 2008 1:09 PM
Subject: China's legal wrangle of Tibetan popular uprising: A Critique
To: "Caitriona Rice"

3 May 2008 [For Immediate Release]

China's legal wrangle of Tibetan popular uprising: A Critique

Beginning from 10 March 2008, Tibet saw mass popular uprisings in the
"Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR") and the Tibetan areas outside the
"TAR". The pan-Tibet political uprising is an eruption of popular
resentment against the Chinese authorities' five decades of misrule in
Tibet which saw systematic gross violations of human rights in every
sphere of life, and incompetent development policies being forced upon
the Tibetan people. The on-going pan-Tibet protest is an _expression_
of discontent and revolt by the Tibetan people against the central
government of People's Republic of China.

Since the eruption of protests last month, Beijing has
repeatedly attempted to project the Tibetan protests through the prism
of criminal activities such as looting, arson, theft and rioting.
Beijing refuses to see the reality of the political nature of the
pan-Tibet popular protests.

The court in sessionRecently the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court handed down harsh
sentences to a group of 30 Tibetans on 29 April 2008. The state media,
Xinhua, in its latest report "Judges and lawyers: Rioters in Lhasa
unrest receive fair trial" released on 1 May claims "They [the
Tibetans] were convicted of arson, robbery, creating disturbance,
assembling to assault state organs, preventing state personnel from
carrying out their functions and theft."

The nature of the court proceedings and the official
interpretation of the Tibetans' activities obviously brings forward the
questions of competency of the court and the official downplaying of
the nature of the Tibetan activities. The Lhasa fast-track court, in a
record one and half month's time, handed down life imprisonment terms
to three Tibetans (Pasang, Sonam Tsering and Tsering), between 15-20
years prison term to seven others, and the rest received terms ranging
from three to 15 years. The sentencing is a clear mockery of law and
due process. In light of the fact that due process involves filing of
documents, engaging independent lawyers, case verification,
consultations from both the parties, non-extraction of confession
through torture, etc., in a state with rule of law, the purpose and
nature of the court in Lhasa obviously is only to provide a legal
rubber stamp on preconcluded convictions without the concept of
innocent until proven guilty.

The fact that one of the Tibetans is seen sitting on a chair
during the court session indicates torture and inhumane treatment in
detention, which is blindly denied by the Chinese authorities. Tibetans
arrested for political crimes are subjected to the worst torture and
ill treatment by the police in detention centres in order to extract
confessions and break down their nationalist sentiments. In light of
the usual inhumane practices by the police in Chinese-administered
detention centres and prisons, and the fact that in the
officially-released picture one Tibetan is sitting on a chair in the
court, brings forward the high probability of use of torture and
inhumane treatment met out to the defendants. In further details
provided in the Chinese language report of the same court hearing,
Migmar Dolma the lawyer for Lobsang Samten is quoted as saying "On 17
April, I went to see my client. Upon entering the detention centre, two
doctors were attending the prisoners. At that time around 10 prisoners
were being treated and two of the prisoners were on IV drip." This
statement by the lawyer corroborates the high probability of severe
beatings on the Tibetans in the detention centre.

While it is widely known that the Tibetans were sentenced for
showing their political dissent, the state media has downplayed the
whole nature of their activities as petty criminal offenses by
projecting the cases as that of looting, arson, theft, rioting etc.,
rather than acts of _expression_ of political dissidence. However,
Article 293 of China's Criminal Law stipulates a "fixed- term
imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention or public
surveillance" for acts "creating disturbances, thus disrupting public
disorder". But the state media states that three Tibetans were
sentenced to life imprisonment, seven were given 15-20 years prison
sentences, while the remaining Tibetans were sentenced to prison terms
of 3-14 years. Clearly the harshness of sentences handed down indicate
that it is not a case of petty criminal activity only, but involves the
larger issue of political dissidence -- which the state media
deliberately fails to mention.

The pan-Tibet protests since 10 March 2008 are spontaneous reactions by
the Tibetans inside Tibet who have for long time suffered brutality and
oppression at the hands of the authorities. Tibetans from all walks of
life and age groups have participated in this revolt. For instance,
Passang, one of the Tibetans who was sentenced to life imprisonment in
the recent court hearing, is an ordinary monk at the Dingkha Monastery
in Dechen Township, Toelung Dechen County, Lhasa City, "Tibet
Autonomous Region". On 17 March 2008 around 3 pm (Beijing Standard
Time), he along with 12 monks from the monastery went to the Township
market and raised pro-independence slogans. As a mark of their
political statement they brought out goods from the shops of Chinese
settlers and set them on fire. They were later arrested by the People's
Armed Police, and eye-witnesses saw 30 Tibetans including the monks
being severely beaten by the PAP officers and thrown into the police
vehicle like sand bags.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) views the
Lhasa Intermediate People's Court's sentencing of the 30 Tibetans to be
arbitrary and summary execution of judicial process. Judicial process
is misused as an official reprisal by the Chinese authorities instead
of protection of fundamental human rights of the Tibetans. TCHRD
expresses its concern at the sub-standard legal proceedings in
Chinese-occupied Tibet, and fears the worst scenarios for the Tibetan
protesters who actively exercised their fundamental human rights of
freedom of opinion and _expression_ in the past two months.

Tashi Phuntsok (Mr.)
Information Officer
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
Gangchen Kysihong
Dharamsala H.P

India Phone: 01892-223363/229225
Cell no: 9418055622

A Tibetan Woman Succumbs to Torture

5 May 2008

A Tibetan woman in Ngaba County died after being subjected to brutal
torture by the Chinese prison guards, according to confirmed
information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (TCHRD).

A 38 year-old Nechung, mother of four children died days after
being subjected to brutal torture in the Chinese prison. She hailed
from Charu Hu Village in Ngaba County, Ngaba "TAP", Sichuan Province.

Sources told TCHRD that she was involved in peaceful protests
on 16 and 17 March 2008 in Ngaba County. Later on 18 March, she was
arrested by the Chinese security forces for allegedly being the first
person to pull down the door plate of the Township office.

On 26 March 2008, she was released from the prison. She spent
nine days in prison undergoing brutal torture in the hands of Chinese
prison guards. At the time of her release from the prison, her health
was in an extremely critical condition. There were many bruise marks on
her body, she was unable to speak and eat food, constantly vomiting and
could hardly breathe properly.

After the release, her relatives immediately took her to the
County government hospital for treatment. However, the County
government hospital refused to admit her to the hospital to receive
timely medical treatment, apparently under influence and intimidation
of the local Chinese authorities. She was completely denied from
accessing timely medical treatment in the hospital.

After remaining in critical condition for 22 days without
medical treatment she died on 17 April 2008 in abject state of neglect,
pity and apathy of local Chinese authorities. Even after her death, the
Chinese authorities issued terse warning to Tibetan monks for offering
prayers and ritual rites for her deceased soul. This goes to show that
the Chinese authorities traverse extreme lengths to deprive Tibetan
people of their basic and fundamental human rights in a cruel and
bizarre abuse of power.

She is survived by her four children, all minors. Her husband
has been on the run since her arrest, apparently to avoid being
arrested by the Chinese security forces.

TCHRD expresses its serious concern at the cases of Tibetans
tortured to death by the Chinese security forces in recent months. This
is a clear indication that China still continues to resort to
widespread use of torture in prisons to deal with the Tibetan prisoners
of conscience. TCHRD urges the Chinese government to immediately put an
end to torture tactics to extract confessions in the detention centres.
TCHRD also calls upon the international bodies and vital organs to the
UN to protect the basic and fundamental rights of the Tibetan people in

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mr. Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar is a 2007 International Intern

Mr. Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar is from Mogolia

Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar's background

I started my work experience as lawyer consultant for medical company which had a special focus on providing medical service for disadvantaged group of people such as retired, unemployed and disabled who can not afford quality service in private hospitals. As lawyer I was often involved in getting their health and social insurance. This experience gives me deep understanding what does mean the right to health, how this right needs to be accessible, affordable for all, how this need to be regulated by state policies and programmmes. My concern of the human rights situation made me to work in the Centre for Human Rights and Devlopment, NGO working actively in Mongolia on protection and promotion of human rights. In CHRD I work as assistant on the “Program for combating against human trafficking in Mongolia”. Our program has been working in following areas- Prevention, protection and prosecution of human trafficking crime, - Victimization, protecting victims - Ensuring effective prosecution and enforcement of laws. Also, I am involved as an assistant of coordination on law reform working group which aims to amend criminal code article 113 under the provision “Human buying and human selling”. I was involved in case analysis, comparative studies of legal provisions in different countries on trafficking. I am also responsible for coordination and preparation of logistics in organizing trainings for police officers at grassroots level from districts police offices of urban area and Ulaanbaatar, which was held from August to December, 2006I also coordinated and prepared logistical issues for working meeting on amending and changing the Advertisement Law which is held on 18th January, 2007. Working as a assistant on coordinating advocates working group where protecting victims of human trafficking crime. I am friendly, easy for communication, like singing and playing on guitar. Last seven months I have been working on human rights field. Everyday, in my work place I listen and get knowledge on problems and issues related to violation of human rights in my country and other countries, too. Therefore, I think that issues about human rights, democracy and peace are not only our country issues, it is also relevant and connecting to all countries and earth, as well . Hence, every countries and people need to join or work together to protect, combat for and promote human rights, democracy and peace. From these reasons I am applying for human rights internship to the May 18 Foundation in Gwangui, South Korea. Because I have goals where I want to learn and improve my skills and knowledge by referred below. These are:- Learn and exchange information about experiences, skills and present condition of human rights on South Korea and other countries from friends who will join to this internship.- Build good communications among human rights defenders through sharing news or information - Introduce to participants about present human rights condition of Mongolia.Finally, by involving in this program I will improve my knowledge on human rights, democracy and peace and improve my working skills at regional level. Also, I want to make a network among civil societies and develop partnership work with NGOs and people who are protecting human rights.

Mr. Tumenbayar Chuluunbaatar made his final report presentation

Read more:
Read this doc on Scribd: Project Report-Tumee

Announcement for 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

"I recognized that the power of small individuals could forge and unite in solidarity to bring about the constructive change to the world. Eventually, Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School (GAHRFS) was a true moral blessing and encouragement to me” a reflection made by Ms. Ratchada Arpornsilp, participant from Thailand last year. The May 18 Memorial Foundation is announcing the application for the 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School. For this year, application is made more competitive to screen the number of applications. Emphasis on organizational partnership is given importance, so applicants endorsed by their organization will be the priority. Since the foundation will not be able to provide multiple translations, English language will be the medium for exchange.The GAHRFS aims to contribute to the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia. Twenty five (25) participants will be selected from among applicants from all over Asia who have been working for human rights, peace and democracy. They will be given an opportunity to learn and experience the history and development process of human rights and democracy in South Korea. The folk school will also serve as an opportunity for participants to exchange and network with other human rights activists.One of the perks of attending the Folk School is the opportunity to be endorsed for a scholarship. For the last two years the foundation has been supporting scholars to Sungkonghoe University for their Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO Studies (MAINS). They were chosen and selected by the folk school committee based on their active participation and performance during the folk school.Interested applicants should download the form enclosed. Applicants are advised to read carefully the guidelines and the rules for their application to be considered. The foundation shall only accept and entertain applicants who will properly comply with the set guide and rules.
This information is available in our website with this link:

Application form is also available here:

Testimonials from the Participants of the 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

"Today, years after the supreme sacrifice made by the people of Gwangju, they continue to inspire and teach us lessons, which is why we are here. The Gwangju Uprising reminds us to experience the spirit of democracy in our day to day life. And the democracy groups in Korea; the Folk School in particular has shown us how to make democracy a part of our daily lives. The Folk School by constantly revisiting events of the May 18 Uprising, invites us to re-live the events, the ordeals and the sacrifices of the victims that we may never again be the victims of oppression. By organizing activities such as those we saw at the Liberty Park where young students were immersed in serious discussions on the merits of democracy; the various fora organized to raise awareness of the significance of the May 18 events; the educational tours we had at the Busan Democracy Park and the visit to the Human rights Commission in Seoul, are but a few activities meant to nurture and develop the spirit of democracy in our daily life".
- Mr. Damaso G. Magbual, ANFREL

"Again and again thank you for this chance and I am so grateful for these enlighten learning process here and thank you for endless help what you have done to me. Finally, the sauna bath is really an unforgettable experience where I can be my self without any shame as the human being and acceptance as who am I".
- Ms. Damairia Pakpahan, RUMPUN

"I recognized that the power of small individuals could forge and unite in solidarity to bring about the constructive change to the world. Eventually, Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School (GAHRFS) was a true moral blessing and encouragement to me".
- Ms. Ratchada Arpornsilp, Thailand

"Through this program, all participants were learning that democracy in an on-going process. Democratic process demands times and unstoppable efforts. Democracy was fought and won through eternal vigilance and wary surveillance over decades and for many generations despite of their diverse social, cultural or political context. People were bound and united once their democratic and human right was violated".
- Ms. Nurul Rochayati, Indonesia

Reflection on 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

by Ratchada ArpornsilpDuring September 3-14, 2007, I was given a chance by the May 18 Memorial Foundation to participate in Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School (GAHRFS) held in Gwangju, the place where democratic uprising was demonstrated and its spirit had prevailed.To me, GAHRFS had led to a great deal of fruition. This significant event consisted of many components ranging among intensive lectures on Korean democratic development and society, discussion to exchange lesson-learnt and experience, individual and group presentation, "Beautiful Holiday" film screening, study trip to National Cemetery of May 18th Democratic Uprising and historical sites, photography workshop, home-stay, rice ball (Joo Muck Bab)making session, sport's activities, and picnic. Well, this was a combination of many various fractions which either deliberately or unintentionally had contributed to the uniqueness and specialization of this program.Definitely GAHRFS accomplished in revitalizing the spirit of May 18 Democratic Uprising in Gwangju taking place in 1980 to other Asian participants. Though Korea has a long history of democratic development and revolution against dictatorship rule, it has so far been overshadowed by its economic success and entertainment K-pop culture in global arena, especially in Asia. Therefore, this event, with a perfectly-blended combination of compatible activities, literally brought me back into 1980, basically equipping me with domestic and global, as well as social, economic and political context of Republic of Korea (ROK or so- called South Korea) during that transitional period due to the assassination of President Park Chung-hee in December the year earlier and the pervasive antagonistic atmosphereof Cold War era with Soviet Union invasion into Afghanistan along with intensive election campaign running around the United States between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican opponent Ronald Reagan.Apparently during that critical juncture in South Korea's political vacuum and prospect for transformation, the world was framed into bipolar with domination of the United States against Soviet Union under the rationale of ideological confrontation. Even since the end of Korean war, ROK has always been the United States' strategic partner in containing Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or namely North Korea) and balancing the power in the peninsula. Consequently, regardless whatever cost, the United States would prop up the regime that stabilized the country. General Chun Doo-hwan, then Head of the Defense Security Command was in charge of the investigation into the assassination. On May 17, 1980, Chun Doo-hwan repealed all civilian rules, extending martial law to the entire country and disbanding the National Assembly. That was when the people of Gwangju stood up against the military control following by bloody massacre.Another outstanding nature of this folk school was the selection of its participants which was divided into 3 groups considering the working experience of each participant in their respective NGO fields; senior, middle-level and junior. The nationalities were diverse across Asian continent. As a result, GAHRFS had provided an ideal forum of how people with distinguished background and experience could plausibly assemble together to share their common concerns as well as lesson-learnt. The interpersonal relations among participants interacting with one another gave me such an impressive feeling and rare opportunity to actually see people from conflicting area as India and Pakistan or Taiwan and China join the laughter and understanding even still at personal level.At the end of GAHRFS, I realized that people around the world, even they might look different, they precisely shared a great deal of similarity. Thailand’s history and political development also had been through many militarized authoritarian regime and countervailing student movement and democratic uprisings. Besides, I recognized that the power of small individuals could forgeand unite in solidarity to bring about the constructive change to the world. Eventually, GAHRFS was a true moral blessing and encouragement to me.

Ms. Thency Gunasekaran is a 2007 International Intern

Ms. Thency Gunasekaran is from Malaysia

The journey towards becoming a modern and democratic society has not been an easy one for Korea. The Kwangju Uprising that took place in May 1980 is a major event that has played a key role in shaping Korean politics as we see it today. What began as a student protest in the city of Kwangju escalated and became an armed civilian struggle. The government troops then enacted brutal acts of violence on the citizens of this southwestern city. Although the 10-day struggle ended in military suppression, this particular event, also known as the May 18 Uprising is undeniably one of the most important and significant events that has helped shape South Korean democracy and politics, especially in the 1980 and 1990s.

A lot of research has been done on the Uprising. Various articles written, song sung, documentation done. However, little documentation has been done on the women's experiences during this Uprising. Very little documentation has been done on the roles that the women played during this Uprising.

This research paper aims to document the voice of the women who experienced, contributed, participated and actively shaped the May 18 Uprising in 1980. This paper will document the roles that women have played during this uprising. it cannot be denied that women are an integral and important of any society. As such, there is a need to accord these women the recognition due to them.

She made her final report presentation

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Read this doc on Scribd: Project Report-Thency

Read some stories are available here:

The Story of JeonOK-JU

The Story of Anh Sung-Ryea

The Story of Hong Geumsug

Thency Gunasekaran talking about her self

I’m Thency and by nature I am a very friendly, energetic, passionate, adaptable and practical person. Professionally I enjoy exploring new ideas and concepts, looking for innovative ways to solve any problems or situations that might arise during the course of my work. I like to try different ways of doing things instead of always following what has been tried and tested. I am able to work independently with minimum supervision but at the same time I am also able to work in a team.

My passion lies in human rights issues with a special focus on trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor. I consider human trafficking a form of slavery and believe it should be eradicated with utmost vigor. In recent times I have been working with marginalized communities using a rights based approach as well as active participation from the community itself. This has served to remind me of the importance of knowing one’s rights to be able to actually claim them when they are violated. I strongly believe that education and awareness are very vital elements when we talk about rights and democracy. By education I’m not referring to an institutionalized education. I’m actually referring to the process of raising awareness as a whole. One does not need to be highly literate to know one’s rights or to be entitled to one’s rights. A person is entitled to their rights regardless of their status. This is something that I will work on in future. Many people aren’t aware of this and sadly this contributes to their rights being continuously violated.

Where skills are concerned my strength lies in organizing events be it workshops, trainings or others. I am also a competent public speaker who enjoys sharing information with people. I enjoy conducting trainings as well. I take great delight in working with and interacting with people. The human mind is something that continues to fascinate me till today. I have had the opportunity to attend various trainings on topics that range from Gender-based violence, good governance, leadership, professional etiquette, conflict mediation, presentations and public speaking, child sexual abuse, personal safety for children, writers for women’s rights and marketing. All these workshops have helped me to open my thinking and look at things from various perspectives. As for my hobbies, I enjoy reading, listening to and playing music, dancing and meeting people from various backgrounds. These activities serve as a method for me to relax and unwind after working. Everything that I have involved myself in and participated in has served to mould me to be what I am today. My passion and interest to bring about change is a strong drive factor that pushes me to try and do what I can to bring about a better understanding and respect for human rights in my country.

My expectations, objectives, and interests on the human rights internship program.

I first heard about the May 18 Human Rights Internship Program last year. At that time the program and learning experience it had to offer intrigued me. Unfortunately I couldn’t apply for it then. A year down the road, my interest in the program has increased as during this past one year, I have had the opportunity to read, listen and learn a little bit about the foundation, its purpose and aims as well as the role it plays in promoting human rights and democracy.

I have been involved in voluntary work since 2003 only. Although my interest and passion has always revolved around issues affecting humans, justice and equality, I only got the opportunity to actively do something constructive when I entered university. Since my university days I’ve been actively involved with local Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – mainly with groups working on women’s rights, child’s rights and youth development.

I’ve been an active member of AIESEC, a global youth run organization that aims to foster peace and understanding via developing the potential of young people, sensitizing them towards social issues and providing them with the opportunity to experience and understand various cultures. I believe that peace can only be achieved when humans learn to accept each other without prejudice. My time in AIESEC exposed me to the reality that many young people are actually not aware of what’s happening around them, in the world. Thus I made it one of my goals to incorporate a stronger presence of political and social issues within my organizations’ activities and projects. I took up the role of the person in charge of member development. This enabled me to plan my members learning. I utilized this platform to reach out to the youth in my university to raise awareness about important issues like human rights, gender issues, child’s rights, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, globalization, the state of the indigenous people and the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity.At the same time, my volunteer work with the local NGO’s exposed me to the harsh realities of the human rights and political scenario in Malaysia. I realized all was not well. This exposure has helped shape and challenge my thoughts and viewpoint. I became convinced that working for human rights is something that I wanted to do. Hence my decision to work with Empower right after my graduation in 2006. Working with Empower has given me the opportunity to experience working at the grassroots level with marginalized communities as well as doing work like administrative tasks, organizational tasks, report writing, training and so on. Empower uses the rights based approach in our training and project. This has enabled me to familiarize myself with instruments like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, The UniversalHuman Rights Declaration and this has in turn reinforced my believe that education and awareness about the importance and the value of freedom and rights is a vital element in ensuring that a person’s right is upheld. I strongly believe that it is extremely important for society to be aware that a lot of things that they take for granted or struggle for is in actual fact a basic right.

One of the main reasons for my interest in the internship program is that having read about the May 18 Uprising incident, having met and spoken to some Koreans, I realized that there is a sense of patriotism and pride that they exude when they speak about their country’s struggle for democracy. It struck me that these are people who seem to truly appreciate democracy and their freedom. This is something, sadly not very apparent amongst the Malaysian youth I’ve met. Not many youth seem to realize that the price for democracy and freedom has been great… doesn’t come easy.

I believe that I can learn a lot from this internship. I would like to know what is it that makes the Koreans so aware of the importance of democracy, freedom and the up-keeping of human rights in a nations survival and growth. I’d like to bring that knowledge to share with the youth of my country as I believe that the youth play a crucial role in the quest for freedom.

My objectives for applying for this internship would be to gain more exposure and knowledge about the Korean struggle for democracy. I’d like to know about the history of the struggle and what is it that continues to drive the people to strive to maintain democracy and respect human rights. I would also like to learn and observe how Korean NGOs work, the approach that they use when handling human rights issues. I would also like to bring back what I would learn in Korea to share with my fellow activists in Malaysia. I believe that the theoretical knowledge as well as the practical experience I would gain from this internship will prove to be invaluable in my quest to promote and uphold human rights.

My expectations towards this internship would be to firstly, be able to learn in depth about the Korean struggle for democracy and to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made to achieve democracy and uphold human right. I would like to learn and listen to the people themselves about their experiences, and how even after such a devastating incident like the Uprising, the people have managed to rise again and move on with life.

Secondly, I hope to experience a challenging internship where I will be able to learn new skills and knowledge, stimulate and challenge my mind and way of thinking. At the same time, I would also like to contribute to the May 18 Foundation in any way that I might be able to. Networking with the people from the foundation and the other interns would also be something I hope to do as well.

Last but not the least, I would like to experience the Korean culture. The best way to learn about people is to actually live amongst them, speak to them, learn their language, experience their culture and to be open to learning experiences. My exposure through my reading as well as interacting with Korean friends has deepened my interest in Korea and her culture as a whole.

With this, I sincerely hope that I will be given the opportunity to participate in this internship program as I believe it will be a fulfilling and beneficial experience for both sides. I hope to be able to interact and engage with activists from Korea and others as well in order to learn from them as well as to share my experiences.

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