Friday, September 26, 2008

Invitation: 1st Anniversary of Saffron Revolution in Burma on 27th September 2008

from: Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)
to: Burma Solidarity
date: Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 1:31 PM

[BurmaSolidarity] Invitation: 1st Anniversary of Saffron Revolution in Burma on 27th September 2008

Dear friends,

The 1st Anniversary to commemorate the Saffron Revolution in Burma is being organized worldwide under the banner of the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association on 27th September 2008.

As you are aware, last year, when a peaceful nationwide protest was courageously staged by Burmese Buddhist monks, they were brutally crackdown by the military regime. Many monks, students and civilians were killed, arrested and tortured.

On this day, the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association would like to honour all those who sacrificed their lives during the Saffron Revolution and remind the people of Burma and world that the official ex-communication campaign is still valid.

In Delhi, on this day, the India branch of the Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association will organize a peaceful march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.

We invite you to join us at the march. We urge you to show your solidarity and support to the people of Burma struggling against the repressive regime; struggling to have a life of dignity and basic human rights.

Date : 27th September 2008 (Saturday)

Time : 11 am

Venue : Mandi House to Jantar Mantar (New Delhi)

Organized by:

The Sasana Moli International Burmese Monks Association (India)

Contact Person:

U Aemon (Monk) : 9810-807592

Mr. Htun Htun : 9891-280954

c/o X- 6, First Floor
Green Park Main
New Delhi - 110016
Telefax: + 91-11-26511207

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) is a non-profit and non-partisan organization formed in August 2008 with the aim to restore peace, justice, democracy and human rights in Burma.

Sharmila remanded to judicial custody

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 18: Human rights crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila has been remanded to judicial custody till October 1 after she was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Lamphelpat yesterday.

read more:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

50 years of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

Press Release

Embargo Date: 11 Sept’ 2008
New Delhi

Violence of the Invisible 9/11
50 years of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

On 22nd May 1958, the Government of India promulgated an ordinance called the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance to meet the challenges of an extraordinary situation arising out of the assertions of the Naga tribes in the then Naga Hills of Assam and parts of the then North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA). This ordinance was a copy from a similar ordinance promulgated by the colonial British on 15 August 1942 to suppress the uprising of Quit India Movement. It gave extraordinary powers to the members of the armed forces, such as arrest without warrant and shoot to kill on the basis of suspicion. The Parliament subsequently converted this ordinance, which was brought in as a temporary measure, into an Act on 18 August 1958, and the President gave his assent on 11 September 1958.

Thus, the unlashing of state’s violent power, or as some called State terrorism, that began on 22nd May 1958 was retrospectively reaffirmed on that fateful 9/11 as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act began its journey as a permanent instrument to treat the people of North East differently and violently. While the people of Punjab had the taste of the Act very briefly in 1980s, the people of Kashmir have been subjected under the same Act since 1990. But its first and real target, the people of the North East have been reeling under the violence and impunity of the Act continuously for the last 50 years.

While the two MPs from Manipur opposed the Act in the Parliament in 1958 itself, various organizations and individual persons had also challenged the legal and constitutional validity of the Act since the 1980s. However, after sitting over those petitions for almost 15 years, the Supreme Court took up a litigation by NPMHR, and after suggesting that the disturbed condition where the Act has been enforced is not due to arm rebellion and that it does not constitute a threat to the national security; it upheld the constitutional validity of the Act in 1997.

The numerous acts of human rights abuses under the Act came into the fore again in the gruesome murder of a young woman, Manorama by the security forces operating under the Act in 2004. The people of Manipur rose up not only against the murder but also against the Act, which was joined by various civil liberty organizations and concerned citizens from across the country and world. Ultimately, the PMO was compelled to institute the Reddy Committee to look into the matter and explore the possibility of substituting the AFSPA with a “more humane” Act. The Committee submitted its report on 6 June 2005 and recommended that the Act be repealed. Similarly the Administrative Reform Committee headed by Veerapan Molly also recommended the Act to be repealed on 25 June 2007. In February 2007 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called upon the Indian Government to ensure an immediate repeal of AFSPA. So far, leave alone repealing the Act, the Government has not even made the Jeevan Committee report public, though the Hindu has already leaked out the report.

Providing lip service to democracy and displaying deep rooted prejudices, many continue to encourage and defend the violence of the Act. As a result the people continue to suffer under it. While the struggle, including that of Sharmila who has been on fast for years, against the Act also continues, it is pertinent for us to reflect on what and why of this Armed Forces Special Powers Act in order to strengthen the struggle against this Act and its politics. Thus, we are organizing a Peace Protest rally from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar on the violence of the Invisible 9/11 at 1 pm on 11th Sept 2008 as a way to remind ourselves of the 50th year of its becoming a law on 11th Sept’ 1958 when the President of India gave his assent. As part of the memorandum we will be delivering 50 coffins addressed to the President of India.

Issued by: AISA, Asha Parivar, The Othermedia, NAPM, Jagrati Mahila Sangathan, INSAF, Reachout, Human Right Alert, JMI Students and FDI
Contacts: +91-9818781767, +91-9871880686, +91-9313106745, +91-9868280198


Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Reflection of the 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

On August 11-28, 2008 the May 18 Memorial Foundation organized the 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School (the 2008 GAHRFS). The venue was in Chosun University.
There were 23 participants from 12 countries in Asia, they were: Afghanistan (1), Bangladesh (2), Cambodia (2), Indonesia (2), India (2), Malaysia (1), Nepal (2), Pakistan (1), Philippines (4), Sri Lanka (2), Taiwan (2), and Thailand (2).
Participants were divided into 3 levels: Senior members (4), Middle managers (9), and Junior staff (10). For Senior members they had presentation for Middle managers and Junior staff. The programs for the senior members also finished on August 28, 2008, while both the Junior staff and Middle managers stayed from August 11-23, 2008.
Joining the 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School I gained and learned a lot of things.
I have met, known, learned, and shared knowledge, experiences, and culture with participants. We spent a lot of time together. From the lectures in class, I learn a lot about Korean democratization, and also democracy, human rights, and peace situation in Asia. Aside from the materials of lecturers, I also learned about how to give a good presentation in the class and other technical works.
Korean history focused on May 18 Democratic Uprising was a good example for us as human rights activists and defenders of human rights. It showed how the people in Gwangju in 1980 struggled to fight for democracy. All people included man and woman, students and workers, and from all groups gathered in Geunamno street. All united and helped one another. Until now, the spirit of 1980 is memorialized and keep growing on the hearts of Gwangju people.
I had some good points from some lecturers, there were:
1. To reach the target or wish, it needs patient and resoluteness. Professor Georgy Katsiaficas in his class he said that the longer time you struggle for democracy, the better product it will have.
2. As activists and human rights defenders, we don’t have to always arraign of things from other people, but it is start from our self first. How we can build our self as a good person and always with the awareness of our circles.
3. Culture and candle light demonstration are good way for expression of our felings. Demonstrations should not always be about street and violence. Peaceful rallies will involve all class or groups like students, children, etc.
4. Korean women movement were very strong, especially nowadays. Their struggle is a good example for every woman in the world.
From participants, I learned a lot about the situation of democracy, human rights, and peace situation in Asia. Especially when they had presentation about their countries situation. They were really eager for learn and share. Participants also had good sense of camaraderie, just a few days of meeting but solidarity and cooperation among them were already strong.
I also had good times with other participants during sport time, field trip to some historical places, home stay with Korean family, and picnic in the last day. During sport time, we had games. It was really fun and enjoyable. I had chance to join home stay for one day, we went to some traditional places and also joined the candle lights demonstration at Civil Park. In the last day, we had picnic to Boseong tea plantation and the beach. We stayed one night and had cultural night. In the cultural night, participants presented their cultural dance, songs, games, etc.
Some of the presentations were boring, because the lecturer just talked and sometimes their voice and articulation were not clear at the back of the class. From lecturers, I learned how to make a good environment in the class when we have presentation. From the beginning we already start by question-answer with participants. It will make discussion continuing. It more better also if we mergered theory with example in real life, and also put some pictures or videos. In class, mostly the discussions time were just a few. It would be more better to have a lot of time for sharing and discussion.
During the 2008 GAHRFS I made good relation and cooperation with my team (Culture and Solidarity Team). We learn and completemented each other. Every events since the 2008 Gwangju International Peace Forum, the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, and other events, we always gained something even in happy and bad times.
As an International Intern at the May 18 Memorial Foundation, I helped some works related to the program. As a host, I learn a lot how we can organize and coordinate the program. How we must prepare anything earlier. The important is communication between host and to participants. As a host we also must respect and understand different cultures of participants.
The 2008 Gwangju Asian Human Rights was a good event for activists and human rights defenders in Asia. In this event they meet, learn, and share their knowledge, experiences, and culture. Their communications were not finish after the event, but with internet world they still can meet, learn, and share with each other. With this event, they made a new network for democracy, human rights, and peace in Asia and also in the world.

By. Gregoria Barbarica Kristina Ritasari
International Intern
August 29, 2008