Thursday, December 22, 2016

Presentation the Human Right and Democratic Situation of Pakistan:

Presentation from our International Intern Shahnawaz Khan  about  Presentation the Human Right and Democratic Situation of Pakistan:

Date: 08th July 2016

It was my honor and privilege to gave presentation to the May 18 Memorial Foundation staff members about the human rights and democratization situation of the Pakistan.

1: Human Right situation of the Pakistan
Shahnawaz Khan shared that present human rights and democratic situation of the situation of the Pakistan are highly alarming. The Pakistan is currently stuck up with soft military dictatorship and the military court is functional under the jurisdiction of Chief of Army staff of the Pakistan.
The Pakistan is also implemented anti-terrorist law which 
Mr. Shahnawaz Laghari is young and energetic human right lawyer and activist is coming from the Pakistan. He has very broad and detailed human rights background from the Pakistan.  He has been also vast multi-sector experience with the NGO's example, Good Governance, Election Observation, Rule of Law, IDPs, Refugees, Democracy and human Rights. Mr. Shahnawaz  Khan gave his presentation about the Pakistan and his topic was "Pakistan: A State of Turmoil and Unstable Democracy in South Asia"

Good by the Human Right and Democratic City Gwangju: A Reflection of my 10 months Internship with the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

If you enthuse to learn and enrich your knowledge time just flying very quickly. In January 2016, I have submitted my applications International Internship at the May 18 Memorial Foundation and on end of February 2016, the Foundation acknowledge me that, I am selected as International Intern at the Foundation. In March 2016, I have joined the Foundation. When I joined the Foundation in March 2016, these were the busiest and stressful moments of the Foundation. I feel and face excitement, for the preparation of the Foundation for the Gwangju Asia Forum 2016 and Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The Foundation’s Korean staff was rushed on all issues, international coordination with participants; visa, tickets, and accommodation become my responsibility. Thanks, to my best friend counterpart, International Intern Rini Kusnadi for her spectacular support, coordination with me, it makes stress-free and to gather, we drafted the SDMA concept and grassroots notes and great learning for me. Assisting the Gwangju Asia Forum, the Gwangju Prize, the SDMA and the Grassroots workshop was spectacular experience and learning for me.  
Over the past year, I have learned so much from the staff and volunteers at 518 and citizens of this remarkable human right city, Gwangju. After successfully completion of the Gwangju Asia Forum, and beginning of Foundations series activities became interesting and learning for me. Our team was much smaller, efficient and highly dedicated, but although sometimes the work was stressful, I was grateful for the opportunity to be fully involved in these events. The Foundation later took diverse activities in the month of May to promoting and disseminating the vision and sacrifice of the heroes of the May 18 Democratic Uprising. The first local event was The May 18 Art at Gwangju the May 18 Democratic square was amazing and remarkable. Later, Red Festa Festival is a big one event in at Gwangju City, South Korea. It is worked and lead by The Education and Research Team, the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The colors and objective of the event would like to show about the modern democracy in South Korea, especially for the May 18 Democratic Uprising that had occurred in the month of the May. This program educates youths in South Korea on Human Rights for Peace and Democratic, particularly youth in Gwangju City.

Furthermore, throughout my stay at the Foundation, I also meet and interacted with the witnessed, heroes of the May 18, professors, citizens of the Gwangju and with all this all interactions I learned that the May 18 Democratic Uprising was basically based on the will, valor and spirit was the common peoples, who belonged from the students, common citizens to disobey and challenge the military regime of General Chun Du Hwan and bring democracy in the Republic of Korea.  Though the regime only temporarily able to stop but it was a constant struggle and finally it came with reality when General Chun was brought to justice and penalized. I am feeling lucky that, through this great opportunity, I was able to learn and studied it from the local and witnessed of the May 18 Democratic Uprising and it is a lesson learned knowledge for me, which I utilized it our nation Pakistan.
I also remained very lucky that in the month of the May, I visited the Korean villages, and make the pottery, dine with them and it was amazing that the Gwangju citizens are really kind and very friendly and observed the Korean culture, which terrific experience for me. Later, I was also actively involved in the May 18 Academy program and through this program the Foundation invited twenty Asian human rights defenders from Asia and provide them a chance to learn about the May 18 Democratic Uprising, Korean culture and enhance their capacity about human rights, democratizations, and peace. In particular, it was a great opportunity to meet activists from around the world and to learn about human rights in Asia. For me, the feeling of solidarity during these two events made all the hard work worthwhile! I will never forget the memories I have of those times. 
During a stay at the Foundation, I was also got a chance to meet with the witnessed, families of the May 18 Democratic Uprising heroes and I feel their emotions, pain and though who were not the part that movement, they openly called them a coward, feel guilt not to be part of that moment. I also got a chance to meet with the mothers of May 18 Democratic Uprising, their strong will after such incident and remained united for the justice of their beloved left me shocked and shaken. Later, the resolution of this incident also astonished me, that whole, Gwangju City is now symbolic and the whole city is decorated with May 18 Democratic Uprising monuments. Being as Intern, whenever I shared with Gwangju citizens that I am working with 5.18, they really see you with great admiration and love.
It is also a great experience for me that, when Asia Culture Center has distorted the actual place fights, bullets, it stunned the Foundation, May mother, relatives and the 5.18 Foundation. They took the decision of protest and they established their tents and sitting at ACC culture Hall. During the protest the mothers of May 18, relatives, NOGs and the Foundation remained firm, they did not care about rains, weather, harsh Korean winter but they remain steady in their objectives. This again left me astonished and now more than hundred days are passed the Gwangju Citizens are protesting against the ACC at the May 18 Democratic Square.  Thus in overall it working as international intern remained as extremely learning for me, through this I got a chance to learn about the Democratic uprising and closely confronted the Korea culture too. I know the May 18 Democratization uprising always remains igneous, the May 18 Memorial Foundation is doing an amazing job and it is the main source of spreading this struggle, knowledge, inside in the Korea and all around the globe.
As I prepare to leave the Foundation, I would like to thank all the staff at the May 18 Memorial Foundation for their kind welcome and continued support throughout my time in Gwangju. Many of these colleagues have become mine good friends: I look forward to keeping in touch in the future and hearing about all the wonderful things life from them.
In particular, I would like to thank my team – You Inare, Anna Choi Sook-won Choi, Professor Louis, Sun, and Rini from Indonesia, Shaheed, Aftab from Bangladesh, and Harshi from Sri Lanka. I am especially thankful for our Executive Director Mr. Kim Yung Rae, who took care of all interns as like his family members and he various time invited us for the dinner, lunch, his village festivals and feed us as their family members. In the end, I am also thankful to the Great person Mr. Professor Yiombi Thona and his constant outstanding struggle for the human rights, refugees, and peace.  Finally with endures, encouragement, guidance and good humor of the May 18 staff! I cannot imagine my time here without them: they have been a huge part of my experience both in and outside the office. I wish them all the best in life, and of course, I hope we keep in touch!
Finally I would like to thank the following: our 518 volunteers for making me feel like “one of the team”; the staff at GIC and KONA Centre who are doing an amazing job of pulling our community together and Sungkonghoe University for inspiring me to keep learning; and everyone else who has contributed to a wonderful time in Korea. I never ever will able to forget such great, beautiful and amazing learning, moments, peace, and city of Gwangju from my heart. Thank you the May 18 Foundation giving such speculator chance and keep standing and promoting the sprite of the May 18 Democratic Uprising in all over the world.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Solidarity for Democratization Movement in Asia (SDMA) statement 2016

Malaysia: Asian human rights NGOs condemn arbitrary travel ban on 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights awardee, Maria Chin Abdullah 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights awardee
Maria Chin Abdullah was not allowed to travel to South Korea. 

Author: Shahnawaz Khan

The Malaysian authorities should stop arbitrary travel ban on the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) democracy activists who have been calling on free and fair elections and democracy in Malaysia.

1. On 15 May 2016, Malaysian authorities stopped Bersih democracy activist Maria Chin Abdullah from traveling to South Korea. She was going to receive the 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on behalf of Bersih 2.0. Solidarity for Democratization Movement in Asia (SDMA) condemns the Government of Malaysia’s continuing harassment and intimidation against Bersih democracy activists. The Malaysian authorities should respect right to freedom of movement of Bersih democracy activists.

2. Bersih means ‘clean’ in Bahasa Malaysia. Bersih has been calling for law reforms on free and fair elections since 2010 through peaceful campaigns. Approximately 500,000 people in 65 countries around the world joined the latest Bersih solidarity protests in 2015. 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is awarded to Bersih due to their constant struggle for human rights and democracy in Malaysia.

 3. Despite of the fact that international community has been supporting Bersih, Malaysian government has branded Bersih as unlawful protests. During the Bersih protest in 2011, 1,667 were arrested while around 50,000 people participated. In 2012, police used excessive force towards peaceful demonstrators including using pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Furthermore, in December 2015 Hishamuddin Rais, a social activist and member of Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee was also refused to travel outside Malaysia. He was scheduled to travel to South Korea as a part of international human rights monitoring delegation. Other Bershi activists Mandeep Singh, Adam Adil and Nik Nazmi have been also subject to judicial harassment under the Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act.

4. Recently Malaysian immigration introduced a policy that if someone disparages Malaysian government while abroad, the person would be barred from leaving the country for 3 years upon their return.

SDMA would like to remind Malaysian authorities that the right to freedom of movement is stipulated under the Article 9 of Malaysian Constitution as well as Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We urge Malaysian government to stop harassing Bersih democracy activists and immediately lift the travel ban against them. Instead of blaming democracy activists for disgracing reputation of Malaysia, the authorities should uphold democratic values and promote human rights.

Solidarity for Democratization Movement in Asia (SDMA) Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Regional Asia / Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), The Philippines / Imparsial, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Indonesia / Odhikar, Bangladesh / People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Republic of Korea / The May 18 Memorial Foundation, Republic of Korea The Solidarity for Democratization Movements in Asia (SDMA) has been launched at the ‘2010 GWANGJU ASIA FORUM’ on 21st May 2010, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic uprising. The May 18 Memorial Foundation has been hosting the International Network Meeting for the past 11 years as a foundation process to establish a regional network for acting among democracy advocates, human rights defenders and social movement activists based on the collective experience of the struggle for democracy and human rights and a sense of solidarity created among the participants. Its main purpose is to promote regional cooperation for democratization based on people’s rights and empowerment vis-à-vis repeated violence and atrocities inflicted by states as experienced in different societies in Asia. The SDMA will inclusively act for Asian solidarity from the bottom up to protect and promote democracy and human rights. 

20th Gwangju Asia Forum 2016

20th Gwangju Asia Forum 2016

Gwangju Asia Forum is an annual event of the May 18 Memorial Foundation and this year it was held under the big theme named “State Violence and Historical Distortion” in Korea. The especial Guest of the Gwangju Asia Forum was a human right and Ex-President Timor-Leste, Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão , he  also previously received the Gwangju Prize of Human rights. There were a number of sub-events under this bigger theme. These sub-themes are under below.

1: Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2016 (GPHR)
2: The Solidarity for Democratization Movements in Asia (SDMA) 
3: The Solidarity for Social Justice (SFSJ)
4: Grass-root Session workshop

1: Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2016:
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is an award given by May 18 Memorial Foundation to recognize "individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy, and peace through their work.
This year the GPHR award was awarded to basis

a)      Organization basis, this year Bersih (NGO) from Malaysia
Bersih has been calling for law reforms on free and fair elections since 2010 through peaceful campaigns. Approximately 500,000 people in 65 countries around the world joined the latest Bersih solidarity protests in 2015. 2016 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is awarded to Bersih due to their constant struggle for human rights and democracy in Malaysia.

b)       Person basis: Dr. Que Ann from Vietnam
Dr. Que`s quest for freedom for his people and the persecution he has suffered have inspired men and women around the world to speak out on his behalf. Among them, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights presented Dr. Que with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Inspired by his courage and his persistent determination to fight for a free and democratic Vietnam, the US Congress honored him by passing Joint Resolution SJ 168. President Clinton subsequently signed it into Public Law: 103- 258 designating May 11 as Vietnam Human Rights Day.
2:  The Solidarity for Democratization Movements in Asia (SDMA) 
SDMA is a highly innovative network of the Asian NGOs and this year the main theme of SDMA was “How to claim shrinking Democratic Space in Asia”.  The May 18 Memorial Foundation invited participants from the Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, and participants shared their countries status regarding democratic and human rights situation. The SDMA participants urged their governments they should follow the ICCPR and UDHR. Thus, the common people can enjoy and fruits of democracy and human rights. End of the SDMA session it issue a statement too.

3: The Solidarity for Social Justice (SFSJ)
The SFSJ is one of the new initiates of the May 18 Memorial Foundation and it mainly provides space to discuss the criminal Justice system in Asia and it flaws. Most participants came from the Asia and South Asia. The South Asian participants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Philippines shared the almost same situation. Most of the countries judicial and criminal institutions have decade old system, it several flaws and corrupt, so common people unable to get benefit from it. 

4: Grass-roots organization workshop
The May 18 Memorial Foundation, first time invited Asian grass-root organizations and provide them a platform to share their activities with Korean partners. End of the workshop the Foundation provide them laptops and small funds to support their activities.

Gwangju Asia Forum was my first assignment at May 18 Memorial Foundation, which I mainly coordinated and mainly involve in the arrangements of the international participants. Through this activity, I (Shahnawaz) and Rini worked on the development of the concept of the SDMA. Further, I also lead the Grassroots organization workshop 2016. It is amazing and great chance from to meet with several NGO and human rights activists and it was really wonderful learning step for me. I am really happy that with the great support of my partner Rini International intern, we both successfully done it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Announcement of Successful Applicant of International interns of 2016 at May 18 Memorial Foundation

Greetings from the May 18 Memorial Foundation 

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is pleased to inform you that Mr. Shahnawaz Laghari  from  Human Right Alliance of Pakistan   has been selected as International intern for July -June 2016-17 period at the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

The Foundation is would like to thank you to all, for applying for our International internship program 2016-17. 

However, we request to all unsuccessful applicants, they should apply for the internship next year.

I wish you best of Luck for your future and I hope their best activities are waiting for you. 

Culture and Solidarity Team
The May 18 Memorial FoundationPostcode 
502-260 Sangchon-dong 1268 5.18 Memorial Culture Centre Seo-Gu, Gwangju, Republic of KoreaPhone: +82 62 457 0518Fax: +82 62 456 0519

Calling for the The May 18 Memorial Foundation, International Interns for 2016

Greetings from the May 18 Memorial Foundation!
Now we are in the middle of recruiting 01 international interns for 2016. More details are as follows:
About International Internship Programme
The International Internship Programme strives to contribute to the development of democracy and human rights throughout our international network by recruiting 2 Interns from overseas, who have been working for human rights, democracy, and peace building organizations in their countries, and by giving them an opportunity to experience and learn the history and development process of human rights and democracy in South Korea, particularly the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Interns will have the chance to exchange and network with Korean civil society groups. They can also choose or will be assigned research during the course of their internship. As interns, they will be assigned particular duties and responsibilities as part of the International Cooperation Project.

Goals of the Internship Programme
The annual internship programme is an imperative part of the Foundation’s mandate to promote international solidarity and further the promotion of human rights across the world through the internship programme.
The Foundation aims:1) to build concrete solidarity through the exchange of human resources2) to nurture outstanding individuals to lead global civil society.

Main Policy of International Internship
The May 18 Memorial Foundation believes that the International Internship Programme is a part of our international networking efforts with international civil communities. It is not only a programme for individuals to build their career but also a cooperative programme between network organizations allowing the sharing of ideas and mutual prosperity for a better future.

In this sense, we are not just seeking those who want to have good qualifications for ones’ own personal gain. Applicants should be supported by their organizations and are required to go back to their organizations after finishing the internship.
We require a recommendation letter from the representative of the organizations in which applicants are involved.

This is a co-partnership programme, so organizations are also encouraged to select staff who are interested in applying for this internship programme.

Applicants should be a working member of an organization: applicants cannot apply as individuals without the knowledge/support/recommendation of their current organization or network.

Applicants who have minimum of 3 years NGO or social development work experience, though not necessarily in the field of human rights, are encouraged to apply.

Applicants needed to have received a proper education. Preference will be given to those with degrees in human rights-related subjects such as social sciences and communication, and to those who have specialized in human rights issues within these disciplines.

Applicants must be computer literate (email/internet, web page, lay-out/design, etc) and proficient in English; working knowledge of Korean is an advantage.

Time Frame
2 Interns accepted for this programme will participate for 12 months, for the period March 2016 to February 2017.

Conditions of Service
The relationship between the Foundation and the intern is one of mutual benefit. Interns are assigned to a unit of the Foundation according to the needs of the office and their own areas of interest. They are involved, inter alia, in managing workshops, preparing for the Human Rights Folk School, conducting their own research, working on human rights issues, drafting analytical papers and reports, providing substantive and technical service, depending on the needs of the Office. At the same time, the programme purposes to increase the intern's understanding of current human rights issues at the international level.

Interns are assigned to work with a supervisor who is responsible for providing them with an orientation of duties and a work plan. Upon completion of the internship, the interns are required to complete their final reports describing what was attained during the internship. Additionally, every intern is demanded to complete an evaluation questionnaire on his/her assignment and to submit it to the May 18 Memorial Foundation.

Interns must fulfill their duties and abide by the rules and regulations of the programme.

In case of illness or other circumstances that might prevent the completion of the internship, interns will inform their supervisors.

There is no expectancy of employment at the end of the internship and interns cannot apply for any jobs or pursue a higher degree until the termination of the internship.

Interns are supposed to work from 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and to carry out the duties assigned to them.

They receive summer holiday and special holiday on December. They are compelled by the same duties and obligations as regular staff members; in particular, all confidential and unpublished information obtained during the internship may not be used by interns.

Sojourn Expenses
Travel costs, airfare and living expenses are provided by the Foundation. Housing will be provided but utilities (telephone/internet, electricity, and gas) will be paid by interns. Public health insurance will be given to cover accidents/illness incurred during an internship.

Applicants should submit the following documentation:
· Completed, dated and signed internship application form
· Curriculum Vitae
· A scanned copy of valid and not expired passport
· A write-up detailing your expectations, objectives, and interest in the May 18 internship programme (not more than two pages).
· An official endorsement letter from your superior or head of your organization.
· An endorsement/Referral Letter from any Alumni/Contact/Network of the Foundation in your country or abroad. (Please check our website links at
· An attestation of conscription in undergraduate studies and a list of courses taken, transcripts of grades or diplomas; a written sample of research work or an abstract of academic papers (3-10 pages maximum), if undertaken.

Application Deadline
December 17, 2015 until February 20, 2016


Selected candidates are normally informed around the last week of February  2016. Unsuccessful candidates will be notified by email and are encouraged to apply again the following year.

Culture and Solidarity TeamThe May 18 Memorial Foundation
Postcode 502-260 Sangchon-dong 1268 5.18 Memorial Culture Centre Seo-Gu, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Phone: +82 62 457 0518
Fax: +82 62 456 0519
Please send all the documentations listed above with the application form as scanned documents either in PDF format or as WORD attachments.
Please visit our website for the latest announcements at
You can download the guildline and the application form

or request by email to