Saturday, November 26, 2005

Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School Graduation Ceremony

Myungsuk Cha
Executive Director, May 18 Memorial Foundation
Addresses the 2nd Batch Graduates of Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

I would like to congratulate the 22 participants who have participated whole heartedly for 3 weeks to the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School (GAHRFS). You have traveled to Gwangju, Busan, and Seoul to study Korean democracy movement and its history. I hope our second time of conducting this event is an invaluable time for you young activists who work so hard for the progress of Human Rights in Asia.

Our Foundation believe that the folk school gave some ground for you to study Korean democracy movement as well as having an opportunity for solidarity with other activists.

I hope that all of you who have met here will continue to grow solidarity and networking amongst yourselves for the improvement of democracy in your own nations. The May 18 Memorial Foundation promises to be with you always in solidarity and networking in the improvement of democracy in Asia.

I hope you will not forget the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School and be proud of your achievements here. I want to thank all of you for your participations despite our many shortcomings. Also, I would like to thank the executive committee, lecturers, and staff.

I hope you stay healthy and leave with great memories and new hope. Thank you.

Progress Report

Jo Jintae
Secretary General, May 18 Memorial Foundation presents Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School Progress Report.

Greetings ! My name is Jo Jintae, the Secretary General of the May18 Memorial Foundation. On behalf of the education committee of the Gwangju Human Rights Folk School, I will give a report on the progress of the Folk School.

From November 7th through 25th of 2005, Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School has been going on here at Gwangju Public Servants' Education Center. We have 22 participants from 14 different nations including 2 participants paying for their own expenses. Participants had field trips and visited various places like Mangwaldong, The May 18 National Cemetery, The May 18 Liberty Park, Busan Democracy Park, Korea Democracy Foundation, Korea National Human Rights Council, PSPD, Jeonteil Memorial, Soedaemun prison, the previous site for KCIA, Ganghwa Island, Presidential Blue House, etc. Because of personal reasons, one of the participants had to leave early so a total of 21 participants are here today for the graduation ceremony.

Participants had time to learn about the Korean Democracy movement and human rights issues, and had time to discuss about the identity of Asia and Asian people. Our lecturers were leading experts in theory and practice, including Mr. Lee Gwangsu, co-representative of Asian Peace and Human Rights solidarity, Mr. Francis Daehoon Lee from PSPD, Kim Dong Chun, Park Eun Hong, Park Honggyu, Lee Haeyoung, Cho Hee Yun, Cho Jintae, Sanjeewa, Fernando Varenesse, Han hong Gu, Jeon Sunok.

I would like to mention that there were many difficulties encountered. I do appreciate the efforts of the staff to execute this program.

As I told you in our opening ceremony, learning from our shortcomings of the previous folk school, we have emphasized the effectiveness of site visit to educate. Time was devoted as well for networking with other Asian Activists. Discussion about the local situations of the participants and their organizations were also done. I believe the success of the folk school was possible due to the strong suppport, trust and confidence of The May18 Memorial Foundation to its International Solidarity Department.

I promise you more progress next year’s Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School, and I want to congratulate you all for completing the education program. This conclude my report. Thank you.

Participants Sharing their Experiences

Awarding of Certificates

Ms. Ros Zerrudo of the Philippines chosen as the Best Student for the 2nd Batch Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005, being awarded her prize and interviewed after the graduation ceremony

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Climb at Mudeung Mountain

The Words of the White Snow

White snow is falling murmuring.

It is continuously falling

and falling and falling.

Covering the ochre

covering the colours of the whole world, it is falling.

It is falling fearlessly.

As if it would tell the world that

the spirits are still wandering in Hades

it is endlessly falling in Mangwol-dong.

It is falling into the bosom of the Mudeung Mountain.

Fluttering its whole body

it is falling on every part of the world

on the mountains and the field

on the Hanla Mountain and the Baekdu Mountatin

on the land beyond the truce line.

Relentlessly erasing every border

even the border between a mind and a mind

it is falling and falling.

Upon all the living and the dead

upon all those lying and walking

Without discrimination

it hastens to fall.

On the crocks and on the stables

it is falling and falling

and falling ceaselessly

The white snow is falling murmuring.

It tells everything on earth

to open its eyes, open its eyes, open its ears, open its ears.

Shutting up its mouth, fluttering its cold body

it is falling and falling.

The Words of the White Snow

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Twin Soul

oh woman of the south
i bow to you as i honor you
for you are the oil lamp
that rekindled my spirit
you are the gift to women
made in heaven
you are my soul
come into flesh
you are the scarf
that wraped me warm in autumn
you are the voice
that shall speak the truth
for all women of colors
you are the artisan
who weaves our life work
so women can rise from the ashes
you are the sister that breaks anonymity
you are the mother
who knows how to nurture the child in us
you are the woman of salsa
with a generous heart
who extends life gracefully
in the dancefloor of diversity
you are the pages in an unwritten book
that has enriched our minds
you are the mind
who reflects the gods in heaven
who shal awaken
the sleeping giants
you are the laughter
that brings sun
to indifferent grounds
and touches even hidden agendas
you are the beauty
a man of the soil
has yet to discover

you are the love
the universe has found
for you bring with you
the rainbow
to paint sky of grey
and heal hearts
as you heal

oh woman of the world
i let you go
with the fire of passion
that can breakdown walls
cross borders
challenge neo-liberals
you are the pen
that shall conquer the war
with guns
and so north and south
can reconcile in peace

you are the flower
in the graveyard of struggles
who shall grow and bloom
in the land of our vision

oh beautiful woman
bring our gifts with you
to your home in the north
as the grandmother's thread
that we hold together

much love,

gpx source:

north and south

north and south

i listen to the story of your people
surrounded by frontline activists
i feel one and connected
that my pains are now woven
in this tragic poetry
we walk along graveyards
where monuments are built
to honor your ancestors
who died, committed suicide and sacrificed
in the name of peace and democracy
where graveyards are like classrooms
and a place to worship the heavens

in the place where the three rivers meet
in the cold we had a glimpse of the north
with hidden landmines on the side
surrounded by barbwires
where a nation divide
borders that started in our minds

when do we stop killing our own people

i cried with your people
i cry for the mothers who lost their children
i cry for women who has to work
sixteen hours a day in factories
to survive in the sixth costliest cities in the world
i cry for migrant workers who work like slaves
in bitter winter inside the closet of multinationals
i creid with Chandra Kumari Gurung
who has to stay in a mental institution for more than six years
just because people were ignorant about Nepal
i cry for the lost love of lovers who has to live separate lives
when the north is heavens apart
from the south on earth
i learned to love your people
i learned to eat kimchi
but one great thing
i can bring with me back to my county
is the spirit of your story
that remains alive
not only in the archives
but as a symbol of courage and determination
which toppled a dictator
that changed a nation

so i pray that the democracy in my country
shall flourish as vibrant as your struggle
as fresh as the rose flower
that pricked the soldier's heart
in time of the uprising
where many of the young
has offerred their lives

Poem by Ros Zerrudo

gpx source:
pix by:

The Groups Report

Group # 1
Voice for Aceh : Advancing Human Rights Towards Peace and Justice

Mr. NBW Mudiyanselage - Sri Lanka
Mr. Jeudy Oeung - Cambodia
Mr. CPKT Mudiyanselage - Sri Lanka
Ms. Ma. Rosalie Zerrudo - Philippines
Ms. Zuherna - Aceh (Indonesia)
Ms. Amarzaya Galsankhagya - Mongolia

After examining the situation of human rights violation in some Asian Countries, like Cambodia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and especially Aceh, there is a need to make a lot of efforts and time in advancing human rights toward justice and peace. However, Aceh is still on the way to achieve the cease fire or peaceful negotiation and agreement with Indonesian government over its self-governance. Through Aceh's case study, it needs to transform the social movement into political institutions so that they can have voice in the democratic institutions.

The lesson learned from this particular case study showed that there is relationship between democracy, respect for human rights, and peace and justice. Therefore, We suggest that political democracy has to evolved as participatory democracy where all citizens can participate in effective ways for promoting democratic society and rule of law. The participatory democracy is the basis for human rights and peace, and to finally achieve justice. The practical existence of this concept calls for Asian unity which can be developed by NGOs, Civil Society, Social Movement for international solidarity.

Group # 2
A Substantive Report on Trafficking in Human Persons in Asia

Sean Sok Phay - Cambodia
Naqibullah - Aghanistan
Anjana Singh - India
Sinnal Blegur - Indonesia

Having seen the severity of the issue of trafficking throughout Asia, several critical measures and strategies should be taken by the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination and NGOs dealing with the issue of trafficking.

1) Prohibition of severe forms of trafficking in persons and punishment of acts such trafficking.
2) Prescription of punishment commensurate with the grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault, kidnapping, or which causes a death, and any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent.
3) Prescription of punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
4) Serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons including investigation and prosecution of acts of sever forms of trafficking in persons, and conviction and sentences of persons responsible for such acts, that take place wholly or partly within the territory of the country, protection of victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons and encouragement of their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of such trafficking which include provisions for legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship, and ensuring that victims are not appropriately incarcerated, fined or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, prevention of severe forms of trafficking in persons, such as measures to inform and educate the public, including potential victims, about the causes and consequences of severe forms of trafficking in persons, cooperation with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of severe forms of trafficking in person on substantially the same terms and to substantially the same extent as persons charged with other serious crimes, monitoring of immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of severe forms of trafficking in persons and monitoring law enforcement agencies of the country respond to any such evidence in a manner that is consistent with the vigorous investigation and prosecution of acts of such trafficking, as well as with the protection of human rights victims and the internationally recognized human right to leave any country.

Group # 3
Violence Against Women and Children

Sadia Malik - Pakistan
Linh Duong Thi My - Vietnam
Lih Yih Beh - Malaysia
Erkinbek Kamalov - Kyrgztan
Muhammad Ali - Afghanistan
Md. Abul Khaer - Bangladesh

The reason that civilization is falling is because we have failed the children of the world and this failure includes all the major religions of the world. An analysis of the roors of this failure had lead to the discovery of its most significant root: the failure to address the unique role of Woman and of Woman as a Motherin world societies. The condition of children in the world is clearly inseparable from the condition of woman in the world. And so we must first examine and understand the condition of chidlren in the world and of civilization itself.

Group # 4
Rights of the urban poor

Dr.Hekmat Sial – Afghanistan
Dhruba Devi Gurung – Nepal
Weiping Sun – China
Md.Berkah Gamulya – Indonesia
Abu Rayhan Al-Beeroonee - Bangladesh

What needs to be done to protect the rights of urban poor?

The state authorities should respect the UN charters and the international laws which
protects the rights of the urban poor.

The NGOs needs to be more active and the state authorities should support their role
for achieving such goal.

The state development strategies and planning should be share with the urban poor
people and get their ideas in terms of setting up the priorities.

Coordinate national, regional and international efforts to combat for the protection of
the rights of urban poor. GAHRFS/May 18 Memorial Foundation could lead and do
more on this aspect.