Monday, December 24, 2007

Updates from PPDD

Thank you Anna for the updates. please check Anna's Blog - for more details and pictures.

Dear May 18 Foundation International Cooperation Team:

Greetings of Happy Holidays!

Hope all of you are doing great! Please see attached files. I am sending
you pictures of the Christmas Party of Light School that took place last
Dec. 20 at Thaime's Bar. It was attended by parents, some colleagues in
the work place and of course by the beautiful kids of Light School!

In behalf of all people and partners including the staffs and kids of
both PPDD and Light School, I want to greet you all a Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year. I wish all the best for year 2008!

Take care and thank you for the continuous support. In behalf of the
staffs of PPDD and Light School kids want to extend gratitude to all of

Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

Sincerely yours,

Anna Malindog
PPDD Executive Director

Dear May 18 International Team:

Hope all of you are doing great! Just want to give you some updates of the developments in Light School since the Foundation is financial supporting Light School. Please see below;

1. Migrant Schools Sports Competition in Maesot – LS kids joined and they won a lot of prizes both in sports competition and academic competitions. Out of 6 migrants/stateless schools, LS got the overall 3rd place in the competition. It was such a fun day. It was whole day event and I was there also participating and cheering for the kids and giving prize awards to winners as requested by the organizers of the event.

2. LS Kids and Teachers has the new school uniforms already

3. Community Development and Organizing & Economic Training LS Kids’ Parents is on-going, it started just last Friday (Dec. 6) and will be done by Dec. 27. Every other day we have training with the parents, they are very committed and happy to attend the training. I am having fun with them though sometimes quite hard for me because of the language barrier but it’s ok.

4. Training of Teachers on Human Rights, Child Rights, Leadership, Team Building, Project Management and School Curricula Development is on-going. It started last Saturday (Dec. 7) and will be done in Dec. 23 I guess. We have the training with the teacher almost everyday except Sunday and Monday since these days are my paper work day and I cannot be at the school to train them.

5. The new building of the school is almost done. I will send you pictures as soon as it is finished. The school will have Christmas Party by Dec. 20 at Thaime’s Bar and for this we are quit busy here preparing for the event, packing gifts for kids and teachers and games for kids etc. I will send you pictures after the party.

6. The school compound will undergo clean and green drive to beautify the school. This coming Saturday (Dec. 15) we will have flowers and trees planting and rebuilding of the fence of the school. This will be like an environmental day for LS. I will send you pictures of this event as well afterwards.

So far so good, very busy but ok, PPDD also is expanding so that’s another story to tell. Please check out PPDD blogsite every now and then ( for you to see more pictures and updates of all the developments taking place for PPDD and Light School. Please see attached photos.

Thanks and happy holidays! I will give you update every now and then!

Good luck! Take care all of you!

Best Wishes!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Call for Application - 2008 International Internship Program

Dear friends and partners:

Greetings! Please find below our call for application for the 2008 International Internship Program. Please help us disseminate the information.

Thank you and good wishes,
International Cooperation Team


The May 18 Memorial Foundation was founded by Gwangju citizens, sympathetic overseas Koreans, and from individuals who sacrificed and got indemnification from the government. It was created on August 30, 1994 by people who believe it’s important to keep the ideas and memories of the 1980 May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising alive and remembered.

The International Internship Program on Human Rights is a program of the Foundation created to contribute in the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia. It is also an opportunity for interns to learn and experience the history and process of the development of human rights and democracy in South Korea. Specifically the purpose and aim of the program are the following: 1) To improve international solidarity and networking and 2) To promote Gwangju as Asia’s Hub for Human Rights Movement.

The Foundation is looking for two interns who will serve for 10 months from March-December 2008. Applicants female or male should not be more than 25 years of age, with a minimum of 3 years NGO or social development work experience on the issues of human rights, democracy and peace. Must be proficient in English and working knowledge of Korean is an advantage. Must be computer literate (email/internet, blog/web page, lay-out/design, etc).

Living allowance will be provided to successful interns. Housing will be provided for free but utilities (telephone/internet, electricity, and gas) will be paid for by interns. The Foundation will pay for the round trip airfare of interns.

Please download the application form if you are interested to apply from any of these links/sites:

Deadline of application is on 15 January 2008. Short listed applicants will be emailed for an online/webcam interview through Skype or Yahoo messenger.

Visit our blogsite archive to learn more about the internship program –

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

518 Nominated to the OneWorld's Person of 2007

Ms. Anna Malindog, Executive Director of PPDD nominated The May 18 Memorial Foundation for the Oneworld's Person of 2007 - Nominate a Trailblazer, check out the link below:

Thanks Anna for the nomination.

This is the call for the award:
OneWorld's Person of 2007 - Nominate a Trailblazer

Who do you think should be OneWorld's "Person of 2007"? Maybe it's someone who was working at the grassroots to bring change to their community or their country. Maybe someone working to improve governments' policies towards marginalized people. Or someone who raised issues that others were neglecting.

Al Gore came in second place last year, after a close vote where OneWorlders chose Dr. Rashad Zidan and the women of Iraq as the People of the Year, for "their tireless work to keep families together through the terrors of war." Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf certainly deserves some consideration this year for what she's done to bring stability to Liberia after years of war. What about Muhammad Yunus, the "father" of microfinance? Or Matt Flannery, the founder of, which is bringing microfinance into the living rooms of the United States.

It doesn't have to be a single person either. Is there a corporation, an organization, or other group you'd like to nominate? The founders of Skype were nominated last year, for "helping connect people from all around the world." So was the town of Kinsale, Ireland, which has adopted a plan to wean itself off of fossil fuels. How about Bill Clinton? Hillary?

We'll leave it there. Now you tell us who you would nominate for OneWorld's Person of 2007 -- and why! Leave your nomination(s) in the comment fields below by Wednesday, December 19.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Please enquire about the death threats to Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi of the PVCHR

From: AHRC Urgent Appeals
Date: Dec 4, 2007 7:42 PM
Subject: INDIA: Human rights activist facing threats for reporting cases in Uttar Pradesh



Urgent Appeal

4 December 2007
UA-335-2007: INDIA: Human rights activist facing threats for reporting cases in Uttar Pradesh

INDIA: Threats to human rights activist; corruption; intimidation

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) regarding the recent threats to Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, the convener of the PVCHR in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state. It is reported that Dr. Lenin has been receiving calls over his telephone from unidentifiable telephone numbers threatening him that if the PVCHR continue reporting cases of hunger and starvation deaths from Uttar Pradesh state he will be shot dead and that the staff of the PVCHR will be implicated in false cases and the organisation forced to close down.


The AHRC has been contacted by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi at 8:21pm Hong Kong time today that he has been receiving anonymous life threatening calls in his mobile phone since 4:45pm, Indian Standard Time (IST). The callers are reportedly threatening Dr. Lenin that he would be shot dead and that the staff of the PVCHR charged with fabricated cases and his organisation, the PVCHR, forced to close down since the PVCHR has been reporting cases of starvation deaths and malnutrition from the Uttar Pradesh state, India.

In the past two years the PVCHR has been instrumental in reporting cases of starvation and malnutrition from Uttar Pradesh, of which the case of Pritam, a three-year-old boy from Ambedkarnagar district of the state, who died from starvation on 25 November 2007, has been widely reported in the state as well as national media. Since the media started covering the news, the local staff of the PVCHR who has been working in the village where Pritam lived, Mr. Manoj Kumar, also has been receiving threats. For further details regarding this case, please see UA-333-2007.

Once the news regarding Pritam's death started coming out through the media, print and electronic, the other political parties in the state also have taken up the opportunity to sling dirt at the state administration. The state Chief Minister Ms. Mayawathi has appeared in all television news channels at about 1pm IST alleging that the cases reported by the PVCHR are false and inflated. The cases reported by the PVCHR are based on authentic documents, which also include medical certificates from local hospitals concerning the physical condition of each victim.


It is unfortunate that state administration is denying the cases reported by the PVCHR and the AHRC, instead of taking immediate actions against the corrupt government officers, who by criminal neglect in their duty, has pushed innocent children and poor persons to die from starvation in the state.

The AHRC is aware that the state administration led by Ms. Mayawathi has in the past has taken strict actions upon cases that were reported by the AHRC and the PVCHR, which has resulted in improvement of the living conditions of the poor and vulnerable communities in the state. The AHRC and the PVCHR expects that the state administration would immediately contact Dr. Lenin to assess the situation and would take all necessary precautions to safeguard the life and security of Dr. Lenin, the PVCHR and its staff.

For further information regarding some of the cases reported by the PVCHR in 2007 please see HU-002-2007, HA-004-2007, HA-005-2007, HA-006-2007, HA-008-2007, HA-009-2007, HA-010-2007, HA-011-2007, HA-012-2007, HA-013-2007, HA-014-2007 and HA-015-2007. For further cases please see the website of Urgent Appeals.

Please write to the authorities mentioned below expressing your concern about the incident and calling for an urgent intervention in the case. The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders calling for an intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:

Sample letter:

Ms. Mayawati
Chief Minister
Chief Minister's Secretariat, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91-522-2230002/2239234

Dear Chief Minsiter,

INDIA: Please enquire about the death threats to Dr. lenin Raghuvanshi of the PVCHR

Name of the victim: Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Convener, the PVCHR, SA4/2A, Daulatpur, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh
Date of incident: November 4, 2007 at about 4:45pm (Indian Standard Time)

I am writing to express my concern regarding the case of Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, the convener of a local human rights organisation based in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Lenin, as you might be aware, is the convener of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). I am informed that at about 4:45pm, Indian Standard Time, Dr. Lenin started receiving anonymous calls on his mobile telephone threatening him that he will be shot dead and that fabricated cases would be registered against the staff of the PVCHR and that the PVCHR will be forced to close down since the PVCHR has been bringing shame to the state. It is unfortunate that you, as the Chief Minister of the state, have appeared on all major television channels alleging that the PVCHR and the AHRC has been reporting false cases from Uttar Pradesh just hours before Dr. Lenin started receiving anonymous threatening calls.

I am informed that the copies of the records like medical certificates of the victims of all the cases reported by the PVCHR from Uttar Pradesh has been also transferred to the AHRC office in Hong Kong for their verification and safe custody on a regular basis.

I am informed that the state administration in the recent past was in fact positively responding to all the cases reported by the PVCHR and the AHRC. I am also aware that, after the recent change in the state administration, in several cases the Chief Minister's office has directly intervened to resolve the issues of poor villagers whose cases were brought to the attention of your office by the PVCHR and the AHRC.

I hope that in this case too your office will positively respond, thereby taking all immediate precautions to ensure the safety of Dr. Lenin and the rest of the staff at the PVCHR. I am informed that the AHRC has already communicated this matter to the office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders calling for an intervention in this case.

I therefore urge you to take immediate steps through your office to ensure that:

1. A written complaint is recorded regarding the anonymous life threatening calls received by Dr. Lenin;

2. That the state administration will do everything legally possible to ensure the safety of the field activists of the PVCHR, and;

3. That the state administration will ensure that the work of the PVCHR in Uttar Pradesh state will continue unhindered.

I hope that you will take appropriate actions in this case at the earliest.

Yours sincerely,



1. Ms. Veena Kumari
District Magistrate
Varanasi, Kachahari, Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 542 2501450

2. Mr. Shripad Sirodakar
Senior Superintendent of Police
Varanasi, SSP Office, Kachahari, Uttar Pradesh

3. Dr. Kashmir Singh
Inspector General of Police
Varanasi Zone
Varanasi District, Uttar Pradesh

4. Mr. Vikram Singh
Director General of Police
1-Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
Fax: + 91 522 2206120, 2206174

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Asian Human Rights Commission
19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,
998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367

Dr. Lenin (Ashoka Fellow)
Please visit:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Call for “Cancel One-semester Suspension of Lee Song Yong” Petition

Please support the call of DEMA !

Dear All,

DEMA had initiated an online petition on PetitionOnline. com that call for cancellation on one semester suspension of Lee Song Yong.

We calls upon the UPM to cancel the unreasonable punishment towards Lee, state the checking procedure of security guard and take action against the security officers who had abused their power.

We hope you could spend a moment and consider signing the petiton. Please take a look and support this online petition on

The petition is directed to Y. B. Dato’ Mustapa bin Mohamed (Higher Education Minister of Malaysia).

Thanks for your support.

Best Wishes,

Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Sharmila has been nominated for the Indian of the Year award...It is given by NDTV and LIC. the polling has already started...

the last date being 1st December 2007.

you can vote here..

scroll down to unsung heroes category...


SMS in India : To vote for Irom Sharmila
sms I 29 to 56388
SMS in UK : To vote for Irom Sharmila
sms I 29 to 63880
SMS in UAE : To vote for Irom Sharmila
sms I 29 to 6388
Phone : Dial 5056388

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

People`s Dialogue on Peace Building in Manipur

IMPHAL, Nov 17: Issues relating to peace building in Manipur, with particular emphasis on the role that the public and civil society must play, were thoroughly examined today in a one-day workshop held at the GM Hall, Imphal.

The workshop, `People`s Dialogue on Peace Building in Manipur from Religious and Civil society`s Prespective was organised by the People`s Initiative for Peace, Manipur.

Dr Lenin Raghuvamshi, joint winner of the Gwangju Human Rights Award 2007 along with Irom Sharmila, participated in the workshop, and in his address strongly emphasised the need to guarantee the full democratic and human rights of citizens for any peace process to be meaningful.

Dr Ksh Bimola, dean of social science, Manipur, gave the key note address, observing that the pain of conflict has been felt in Manipur for a long time, and the people of the state have a broad feeling that this should stop.

People don`t feel that violence arising out of conflict cannot bring any solution, and they feel that it is time to act and speak out for peace. The formation of the PIPM prompted by this need, she said, adding that the PIPM feels that not only the path of violence should be abandoned, but a real new start needs to be made for Manipur.

Various speakers, including Maulana Sayed Ahmed, Jameut-Ulma, Chand Thingmei, development secretary, Manipur Baptist Convention, Dr Hawlngm Haokip, president ALM, Prabhu Manamali, ISKCON, Pradeep Phanjoubam, editor, IFP, Laingam, secretary All Manipur College Teachers Association, and AK Kom, secretary, UCM, spoke on peace building in Manipur from different prespectives.

A draft declaration was adopted at the end of the meet, which took the stance that real and lasting peace can only be achieved by involving civil society directly in the peace process, and stressed the need to guarantee democratic and internationally agreed human rights of civilians, and give them the role they deserve in the peace process.

The declaration appealed to the political leaders in Manipur and the government of India to help stop violence and save the lives of the civil population, and strongly urged that military forces should work according to the legal framework of the country, and as well international treaties on humanitarian law.

It further urged all insurgent groups to prevent, and stop the violence in Manipur and look for alternative ways of responding to the demand and interests they want to represent.

It further appealed to all the people of Manipur to help prevent and avoid violence and speak out for peace and move forward for a process of building peace.

The declaration called for the repeal of the AFSPA, in conformity with the long-felt needs and demands of the people which is supported by the Justice Reddy review committee report.

It also took the stance that peace process should be started that includes all citizens of Manipur, and called for taking up a programs for demobilisation, disarmanent and rehabilitation. It also sought initiation of a support program for orphans, widows and women affected by violence, immediate and independent monitoring of the human rights situation in Manipur, and supported a free press, protected from corruption and violence.

It also stressed the importance of providing education for all, creation of employment opportunities, and guaranteed access to land, and called for a state-wide program to fight corruption.

It was stressed the need for inclusion of women in decision making bodies, and the development of a structure where all civil society can share roles and responsibilities for peace.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Observe 19th November as nation wide protest against continuation of AFSPA!!

From: NPMHR Delhi <>
Date: 14 Nov 2007 15:50
Subject: Observe 19th November as nation wide protest against continuation of AFSPA!!
To: NPMHR South <>

Please join a protest on

19th November against AFSPA
outside Peary Lal Bhavan (ITO),
New Delhi
between 2 and 4 pm

Organized by

Manipur Students Association, Delhi (MSAD),
Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS),
Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR),
People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)




  • Why is it that nearly 40 million people in North East and Kashmir live under army rule?
  • Why is it that in some parts, this army rule has continued unabated for nearly 60 years?
  • How can a country which boasts itself as the largest democracy justify army rule and continue to suppress its citizens?

Friends, Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act is a law which gives the state just such a license: a license to kill with impunity, to shoot at sight anyone on mere suspicion, to occupy or destroy any building, to enter any home and to arrest anyone without a warrant. A license that is available to even a non commissioned army officer of the lowest rank. And to take such action the officer needs no permission from a superior and is not answerable to anyone. And it is not easy to prosecute the security forces for offences as the Act provides immunity to them. Wherever such absolute power exists, those empowered turn criminal. So, rapes, torture, custodial deaths, enforced disappearances or fake encounters happen and happen repeatedly, precisely because guilty officials know that the law protects them.

Beginning in 1958 when it was enacted, today the Act covers most of North East and Jammu and Kashmir. Both the enactment and its long duration have been justified on the grounds that the North East and Kashmir are disturbed areas and therefore need a strong law to tackle militancy and insurgency. But consider for a moment the following:

  • Should peoples’ aspiration be dealt with militarily? More importantly, should the Indian state, or for that matter, any democratic state, demand subjection and loyalty at the point of a gun? Occupational rule is never just or desirable. And this is precisely what AFSPA does. Today, as many as 11 lakh security personnel are deployed in North East and Kashmir.
  • Coercion and military might, can and does suppress people and the extensive use of the AFSPA is proof of this. Be it the Oinam massacre in the 80s, operation Rhino in the 90s, or the Patharibal massacre and rape and torture of Manorama in this decade, army rule is accompanied with a history of heinous offences which no government can justify.
  • Besides killing and torturing ordinary civilians in the name of militancy, the brutality with which the forces treat families of militants is reprehensible. This is what the security forces are currently doing in Assam, Manipur and Tripura.
  • But political aspirations and convictions are not determined by length of the gun or strength of bullet. If anything, long-term army deployment alienates people instead of convincing them. Continuous protests by the Kashmiri people over widespread crimes committed by the security forces and the lack of any justice to the people against these crimes is a fact that the rest of the nation cannot deny. Protests over Manorama’s rape and murder by the Maira Paibis and the long agitation in Manipur, equally, tell us that army rule is not acceptable.
  • When political solutions are sought, if unaccompanied with sincerity on the part of the government, the possibility of lasting peace recedes. The decade long ceasefire between the Indian government and the Naga people has not meant either withdrawal of AFSPA or reduction in deployment of forces. As a result, the armed forces, have entrenched themselves even more firmly within Naga society.

People have protested against this infamous and draconian Act. People have protested time and again. Irom Sharmila’s heroic resistance in the form of hunger fast since 2000 is very well known. But why haven’t successive governments paid heed to these protests? Simply, because no government has genuinely engaged with the question of people’s aspirations. Moreover, all governments believe in the rule of the strong state. Therefore, by leaving the need of opposing AFSPA to only those who are affected by it, we will aid the present government in believing that there’s nothing wrong in using this draconian law.

There is only one-way: a united protest by all against AFSPA – for its unconditional repeal.

Observe 19th November as nation wide protest against continuation of AFSPA.

Oppose military rule in Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh

Support people’s struggles against military regimes

Manipur Students Association, Delhi (MSAD), Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Join protest dharna on 19th November against AFSPA outside Peary Lal Bhavan (ITO), New Delhi between 2 and 4 pm

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act -- AFSPA

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is one of the heinous draconian legislations that the Indian Parliament has passed in its history. In a brief discussion that lasted for merely three hours in the Lok Sabha and for a paltry four hours in the Rajya Sabha, the Parliament approved the Armed Forces (Assam- Manipur) Special Powers Act with retrospective from 22 May 1958.

Under this Act, all security forces are given unrestricted and unaccounted power to carry out their operations, once an area is declared ‘disturbed’. Even a n

on-commissioned officer is granted the right to shoot to kill based on mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to ‘maintain the public order’. Section 6 of the AFSPA provides them with absolute impunity for all atrocities committed under the AFSPA. A person wishing to file suit against a member of the armed forces for abuses under the AFSPA must first seek the permission of the central government. This basically vests complete impunity to the armed forces.

This Act gives a complete carte blanche to the security forces and not surprisingly it has been severely abused and misused in various conflict areas of northeastern India. For example in Kohima in 1995, the Rastriya Rifles mistook the sound of a tyre-tube burst from their own convoy as a bomb attack and began firing indiscriminately in the town. The firing lasted for more than one hour, resulting in the death of seven innocent civilians (including two girls aged 3 ½ and 8 years old), 22 were also seriously injured.

Similarly, special anti-terrorist legislations like POTA and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2005 have created a politico-legal system that encourages abuse by security agencies. POTA was extensively abused to victimize the minorities and other marginalized sections of the society as is evident from its selective use against the accused persons in the Godhra case. At the time of its repeal, more than 500 cases of POTA were pending in Gujarat alone and all against religious minorities. It was also widely misused for political vendetta as demonstrated by the arrest of MDMK leader, Vaiko by the Tamil Nadu police on extremely flimsy grounds. It must also be noted that the cases registered under the Act subsist even after the repeal of the Act.

The UAPA Act, which came after the abolition of POTA, is a virtual replica of its infamous predecessors. It retains almost all the infamous provisions of POTA like the wide and open-ended definition of terrorism, and the provisions on terrorist organization and guilt by association. In addition, it has explicably added a new chapter on “terrorist organizations” when the original Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act had an elaborate framework for outlawing “unlawful organizations”. Such a declaration was to come into effect only after confirmation by a tribunal consisting of a high court judge. The absence of similar safeguards in the new statute is extremely critical and paves the path for several abuses.

The AFSPA has sparked widespread and repeated protests against its brutalities and abuses in various conflict areas. There were massive protest campaigns in Manipur in 2004 against the Act after the “rape and killing” of Ms Manorama Devi allegedly by the security forces. The Government of India tried to quell the mounting moral and political pressure by constituting a Committee to Review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

In October 2006, the human rights community in India was surprised at the disclosure by The Hindu newspaper in which it reported that it had managed to secure a copy of report by Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (the Commission). The Commission, established by central government in November 2004, and headed by Retired Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, presented its report to the Government in June 2005. Since then the human rights community had tirelessly called for its findings to be released officially.

One positive aspect of the Commission’s recommendations is that the Commission calls for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). In addition, the Commission recommends that some of the excessive powers granted to the armed forces under AFSPA be abolished - for instance, the authority to use lethal force against any person contravening laws or orders “prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons”. The legislation proposed by the Commission also includes the “Do’s and Don’ts” attached to AFSPA, and rendered binding law by the Supreme Court, and which impose certain restraints on the behaviour and powers of soldiers deployed under the Act.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act must be understood as an instrument through which the Indian State has ignored political solutions to the questions of autonomy in the region and instead, resorted to increased militarisation to curb all such struggles. There is a need for the human rights community and civil society organizations to view the organic linkages between AFSPA and underpinning questions of impunity, militarization, and pervasive undermining of democracy in North East and Kashmir.

There is an urgent need to demand:

· Unconditional Repeal of AFSPA; and non-retainment of any part of the Act.

· Repeal UAPA

· Rigorously protect the civilian population from violent crimes, including terrorism, and prosecute suspected criminals within the framework of criminal law in conformity with international human rights law and standards;

· Unless war breaks out, ensure that the armed forces operate under strict control of civilian authorities, and are not granted any powers beyond those of civilian law enforcement agencies.

· Amend Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act which prohibits the NHRC and State Human Rights Commissions from independently investigating allegations of human rights violations by the armed or paramilitary forces personnel.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Annual Commemoration For The Disappeared

October 27th Annual Commemoration For The Disappeared

Families of the Disappeared, Sri Lanka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The flower offering was the next event.

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

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

The Conference

It was started at YMCA auditorium at 1330.

Participants -160

Organizations – 16

Political parties -03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The conference was over at 1830.

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

Families of the Disappeared

The speech for the Annual Commemoration for the Disappeared in 2007

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

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

In the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the citizens struggled against the violence committed by the government. But we have regained and win back the reputation of the people wanting freedom and democracy. So like you we are also commemorating the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising so the people will not forget those who offered their for our present liberty. However, I am very sad and so sorry that Sri Lanka is still in the process of finding out the truth and regaining the reputation of those who sacrificed their life for democracy.
We in Gwangju at that time got support from the world in recovering back and rectifying the proper image and reputation of May 18. The May 18 Memorial Foundation have been supporting your annual commemoration for the Disappeared since 2001 and cooperating with the Families of the Disappeared. I believe that solidarity and education programs here in Asia is another way to for Korea to maintain its legacy as a truly democratic nation. Without developing human rights and democracy in its neighborhood, we won't prosper and continue to develop our own Democracy in Korea.

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

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

Our commitment to struggle together against enforced disappearances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In particular, we call on the government to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ratify UN International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances.

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

With the Solidarity of the Families Of the Disappeared

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

Together in solidarity with families of the disappeared,

Friday, October 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia

2007 Grant for Democracy and Human Rights Projects in Asia


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


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

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




a) Short-term grant

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

3,000,000 (single tranche)

b) Mid-term grant

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

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

c) Organizational grant

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

300,000/monthly for 2 years

Other Information

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

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


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

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


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


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

Application Procedure

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

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

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

Contact Information

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

Click link to download application form:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Blogging Thency's Email - The RED STRINGS

Dear all,

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

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

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

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

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


ps : sorry for crossposting :P


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

How Can I Participate?

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

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

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

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

Some Simple Guidelines:

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

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

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

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

Show Your Support for the Monks!

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

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

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

(includes advisory details for international events)

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

Thousands/Hundreds expected on streets of YOUR CITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editors Notes:

For more details or interview please contact:


Country, City


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

Contact: Phone/Email



Bring banners, placards,

saffron colored shirts.


Amnesty International Australia + 61 2 92 17 76 00

For all others:

Australian Burmese Network

+61 (0) 422463178


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


Austrian Burma Campaign

+43 (0) 699 1000 7645

BELGIUM, Brussels

March at Place de la Liberté.


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

Arnaud Collignon

Clarence Jameson



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


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





DENMARK, Copenhagen

Rally at Chinese Embassy


5th Oct



Rally at Parvis des droits de l'homme du Trocadero


Vassaly Sitthivong contact details to follow.










INDIA, Bangalore

New Dehli








Dr. Zawwin Aung

Burmese Trade Union Leader

+91 9871 578 569


Rally with flowers at O'Connell Bridge


+353 1 286 0497










Kula Lumpur

Rally at KLCC (entrance near the Menara Maxis)

20.00 5th Oct

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

MONGOLIA, Sukhbaatar

Multi-faith rally


Amnesty International Mongolia
+976 11 324 705



Rally at Civic Square


Andrea Valentin

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






Demonstration, wear red


Kathrine Sund, contact details TBD


Rally at the Company Gardens


Craig Ackermann


Rally at Burmese Embassy



SPAIN, Barcelona

Day of Action for Burma


Concha Pinós

+34 639419772


Rally at Mimerskolans Bollplan


Markus Maunula,

+46 47 22 47 92 37


Rally at 1242 Satigny


Assoc. Suisse-Birmanie

+41 12-13564-9





TAIWAN, Taipai

Rally at National Taiwan Democracy Hall, wear red


Peter Dearman


San Francisco

Washington DC

Justin Herman Plaza

March from Burmese-

Chinese- Indian embassies



Thelma, Campaigns Coordinator

U.S. Campaign for Burma

1444 N Street, NW, Suite A2

Washington, DC 20005

Tel: (202) 234 8022

Fax: (202) 234 8044




March with monks from Tate Museum, wear red


+44 (0) 20 7324 4748,

+ 44 (0) 7791 586 211

Mark Farmaner The Burma Campaign UK

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


Irom Sharmila Video

Irom Sharmila is a young woman of Manipur who has been on a fast-to-death for nearly 7 years now. She has been demanding the removal of a brutal law from her land. Manipur is a north-east Indian state (bordering Myanmar), riven for decades by insurgency and armed separatist movements. The Government of India has attempted to control the situation militarily, granting drastic powers to the security forces. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enforced in the region lets people be arrested, shot and even killed - on suspicion alone. But Sharmila is willing to stake everything -- even her life -- to restore justice and dignity to her people.