Archive for August, 2007

Advisory KIT 2

Greetings !

Hope all’s going well with everyone. We have had a busy few weeks with the preparations of the folk school. We are very excited to have you all here as participants of this folk school.

Below are several updates concerning the folk school.

1. Folk school Dates
In our initial correspondence we had informed everyone that the folk school will be from the 2nd till the 14th of September 2007. Everyone was advised to book their flights back home for the 14th of September 2007. Now there are some new developments. On the 14th of September 2007, we have organized an outing for you, the participants of the folk school. If you would like to join us for this outing, then you are advised to book your flights back home for the evening of the 15th of September 2007 (Preferably flights that are from 6 pm onwards) or the 16th of September 2007. This trip will be somewhere out of Gwangju as such we would need time to travel etc. For participants who decide to join us on this trip accommodation, transportation, and food will be provided as this is part of the folk school programme. For those of you who would like to stick to your original travel date of the 14th September 2007, it is okay for you to do so as well. We do understand that you have busy schedules to keep. 
Please inform us about your preferred date of travel back home.

2. Weather
There have been a lot of enquiries about the weather in Korea. It is supposed to be autumn during the folk school period. However, the weather seems a bit erratic these days. To be safe, you are advised to bring a couple of sweaters. As soon as we have more updates, we will inform you about it. 

3. Reimbursement / Flight Tickets
As informed prior to this, we will reimburse you for the roundtrip flight tickets during the folk school. However, the cost of the bus ticket from Incheon to Gwangju, vice versa will be borne by the participants themselves. The cost for transportation in the participant’s home country will be borne by the participants as well. Please ensure that you have the receipt for the purchase of your ticket as well will need this to be able to reimburse you for your tickets.
Please inform us as soon as possible about the details of your travel time. It would be good if you could scan and send us a copy of you flight itinerary or a copy of your e-ticket. That would help minimize the possibility of a mix-up. 

4. Visa
For those of you who have updated us about the status of your visa, thank you very much. We strongly urge those who haven’t submitted their applications to please ensure that you apply for your visa by the 23rd of August the latest. This is to ensure that the Korean Embassy in your respective countries have sufficient time to process your application. Failure to do so might result in you not being granted your visa and thus not being able to make it to the folk school. 

5. Laundry
There have been enquiries about laundry services during the folk school. Participants will be able to send their laundry to the laundry mart if they wish to do so. The cost for laundry services will be borne by the participants themselves. 

6. Home Stay Programme
As part of our efforts to make this folk school a memorable and enjoyable learning experience for you, we are trying to arrange for a weekend home stay programme. This has not been confirmed but we would advise you to perhaps bring a small token of appreciation (perhaps a souvenir from your home country) as a gift for your host family. 

7. Gmail Account
We would like to request that everyone opens a Gmail e-mail account prior to this folk school. If you already have one that’s good. If you do not have one yet, please try and sign up for one. This Gmail account will be used during one of the sessions of the folk school. Thank you 

8. Internet Services
There will be internet access available during the folk school.

9. Programme / Schedule
There have been enquiries about the programme flow for the folk school. We are still in the midst of finalizing it. We will be sending it out to you as soon as it is finalized. Please keep a look out for that 

10. Last but not the least…..
Don’t forget your enthusiasm  We look forward to meeting you in Gwangju. Have a beautiful week ahead. If you have any other inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.





Congratulations on being selected as a participant for The 2007 Gwangju Human Rights Folk School. We look forward to meeting you here in Gwangju.

This document is a little preparatory kit to help ensure that everyone is well-prepared for the folk school. In the midst of the hectic schedules that everyone has, there’s bound to be certain things that are forgotten. To minimize the possibility of that happening, we’ve come up with a little advisory. Hope it’s useful.


1. Pre-departure

a) VISA. Please check with your local Republic of Korea Embassy if you would need a visa to enter the country.

b) Please attach the official invitation from the Foundation alongside your visa application form. Expenses for visa applications shall be borne by the applicant themselves.

c) Air ticket. The May 18 Memorial Foundation will cover the costs of an economy class round-trip air ticket for the participants. Participants are advised to purchase their own flight tickets first. Please book a ticket to The Incheon International Airport in Seoul.You will be reimbursed for your round-trip air tickets during the folk school. Please be advised that you should plan your arrival for the 2nd September 2007 and your departure for the 15th September 2007 (middle and junior level).

d) Departure Checklist :

– Passport and Korean Visa

– Air-ticket

– A certain amount of cash in either South Korean won or US dollars for your

travel to Gwangju

e) Participants are advised to inform us of their flight schedules as soon as possible so that the necessary arrangements can be made to receive them in Gwangju.

2. Arrival in Korea

a) Incheon International Airport -Passport and Immigration Control. To receive official permission to enter the Republic of Korea you will need the following documents: (Do not forget to carry all these documents in your hand luggage!)

– Your valid international passport, containing your visa (if applicable)

– Your Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School invitation letter

If you did not obtain your visa before your departure from your home country, the immigration officer at the airport may refuse your entry.

b) Customs. After passing through immigration, you will collect your luggage from the Baggage Claim area and proceed to the Customs area. If you have goods to declare, fill out a Customs Declaration form; if you have no goods to declare, you must still go through Customs and notify the Customs officer that you have nothing to declare.

c) Money Exchange. If you don’t have Korean won have your money changed in any of the money

Exchange counter at the airport. Be sure to have at least 50,000.00 won exchanged to pay for your bus ticket and meal on the way. Have some coins as well to make a call to us before leaving the airport.

d) Make a call. Before you leave the Incheon International Airport for Gwangju, please telephone and inform the May 18 Memorial Foundation of your arrival time in Gwangju. Volunteers from the Foundation will be on hand to welcome you at the bus station and escort you to your accommodation.

3) Journey to Gwangju

Different modes of transportation are available from Incheon International Airport to Gwangju, in Jeollanam-do Province. The express bus from Incheon International Airport to Gwangju Bus Terminal is highly recommended for your convenience. Please be advised there is another city in Korea also named Gwangju. Make sure you are going to the one in Jeollanam-do Province.

Bus Trip. Buses run directly from the Incheon International airport to the city of Gwangju. In the case that you take a bus to Gwangju from Incheon International Airport, you will need to have on hand approximately 35,000 Korean won (about US$35). The bus trip to Gwangju takes approximately four-and-a-half hours.

* For more detailed information on the arrival procedure, please refer to Incheon International Airport website:

You can get information on buses to Gwangju and purchase the bus ticket at the Transportation Information Counter on the arrival floor of the airport passenger terminal. After buying your ticket, proceed to Bus Stop No.9C for the bus to Gwangju.


Airport – Gwangju Express Bus Terminal



Bus type

Limousine (Deluxe)


Travelling Time

240 min




Gwangju Express Bus Terminal





Gwangju Express Bus Terminal



KRW 30,900 (deluxe)/ 34,000(midnight)

Vendor Name

Kumho Express



Time line of departing Buses

(From Airport)06:10,50 07:50 08:50 09:20 10:20,50 11:50 12:50 13:20 14:20 15:20,50 16:50 17:50 18:50 19:20 20:20 21:20 (midnight 22:00,40)


Below is a checklist of things that participants would need to bring when they attend the folk school.

1. Sufficient Clothes for their 2-week stay. (Please take note that there might be some formal occasions where formal attire would be required. Participants are advised to bring a set of formal attire)

2. National Costume – participants are requested to bring a set of their national/traditional costume. This will be used on graduation day.


The food (mainly Korean dishes) and lodging of the participants will be taken care of by the foundation for the duration of the folk school.

The foundation will not be covering the local transportation expenses of participants (the journey from The Incheon International Airport to Gwangju). However, participants will be given an allowance during the folkschool.


Should you encounter any problems during your journey here, please contact :

Mr. Sang Seon Kim (Chris)

Assistant Director, International Cooperation Team

Mobile: +82 10 8000 8052 (international)

010 8000 8052 (local)


Mr. Pete Rahon

Staff, International Cooperation Team

Mobile: +82 10 24830528 (international)

010 24830528 (local)

Contact Address

The May 18 Memorial Foundation
5.18 Memorial Culture Hall
Seo-Gu Sangmudong 1268
Gwangju City

Post Code 502-260
Republic of Korea
Phone: +82 62 456 0518
Fax. +82 62 456 0519

If you have any further suggestions or questions please do not hesitate to mail us at

We would be most willing to clarify any doubts you might have.

Looking forward to meeting you in Gwangju.

Irom Sharmila continues to fast

Irom Sharmila Chanu – Repeal Of AFSPA Update:

Irom Sharmila continues to fast in the Security Ward,
J.N. Hospital, Imphal. Confined to a solitary existence!

Dear friends,

It is now almost five months since Irom Sharmila returned to Imphal on 5th March 2007, to continue her hunger fast against the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The situation continues to be grim – both for Sharmila as well for all those suffering under the prolonged implication of AFSPA.

For those of you reading about Sharmila’s epic struggle for the first time – on 4th November 2000, 28 year old Irom Sharmila Chanu started her hunger fast seeking repeal of the draconian AFSPA. This was her response to one among countless incidents of arbitrary killing by the Armed Forces in the north east when on 2nd November 2000, 10 innocent civilians were killed at Malom near Imphal, Manipur.

Sharmila has since been incarcerated at J.N. Hospital Imphal. Over the years she has been repeatedly arrested and detained under Section 309 IPC (attempt to commit suicide). In October 2006, for the first time Sharmila left Manipur and continued her protest fast at Jantar Mantar, and then at AIIMS and RML hospitals in New Delhi where she was kept under constant police vigil.

Sentenced to solitary confinement?

Now in her 7th year of the fast, Sharmila’s health is deteriorating. Far from responding to her demand of Repeal of AFSPA, the state is doing everything it can to isolate her and her peaceful struggle.

At the hospital, Sharmila is not allowed visitors on a regular basis. This is in complete violation of the law, which permits anyone in custody, be they an undertrial prisoner or a convict in a high security prison regular visits by his or her family members, friends, supporters and/or lawyers. And yet, Sharmila does not even this basic freedom, despite the fact that there is no court order commanding her isolation. Her family, friends and supporters are put through an arduous and cumbersome process to meet her.

The ‘Special’ process takes to meet Sharmila can take up to 20 days and involves an application to the Joint Secretary Home Department, Government of Manipur; the DGP, Prison, Central Jail, Manipur; the Additional Superintendent, Sajiwa Jail, Manipur and the SI, Sajiwa Jail – who if the application gets all the due clearances, then ‘accompanies’ the visitor to meet Sharmila!

What are we to surmise except that the Government is attempting to isolate her from all contact with the outside world in the hope of weakening her struggle?

Matter of honour.

It is unlikely that the Government of India will acknowledge or respect, let alone honour Sharmila for her determined struggle for justice and peace. Satyagraha, after all, has been disregarded repeatedly in these times.

On 18th May 2007, Sharmila was awarded the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in Seoul, Korea. Her brother Singhjit received the award on her behalf and returned to Manipur only to be told that the certificate would not be shown to Sharmila. He had to wait till 30 June to get ‘permission’ to visit Sharmila and give her an update of the events surrounding the award.

The Gwanju Prize includes a cash award of $25,000 (approx. Rs. 12 lakhs). Sharmila and her family have decided that this money will go towards assisting the victims of the human rights violations in Manipur. The Ministry of Home Affairs (FCRA department) claims it has ‘lost’ the FC-5 application required to facilitate transfer of the award amount. What will it take for the Government to expedite and release it without any further game playing?

AFSPA – No response to the demand for repeal.

At both, the Central and State level, the government is simply refusing to address the peoples’ demand for repeal of AFSPA – despite the voices against it being raised against it from Kashmir to Kerala to Delhi to Manipur and Nagaland, for over two decades now. In addition of course, have been the recommendations for Repeal of the Act by the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee set up by the government as well as the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Mr. Veerappa Moily.

Meanwhile in the shadow of this draconian Act, and the impunity it offers the armed forces, everyday the people of Manipur are disappearing, being killed and tortured. Mr. Nongmaithem Tomba alias Chinung (37 years), Miss. Soniya alias Najama Latif (15 years), Mr. Moirangthem Gandhi Singh (24 years) everyday AFSPA continues to claim new victims.

Need for urgent action

It is imperative that as individuals and groups who believe in democracy and justice, we raise our voice against the continued injustice under AFSPA and the continued harassment of Irom Sharmila.

1. Send a statement. Let’s be heard this time!

Here is a draft statement you could use to lend your support:

We, the undersigned, as individuals and groups who believe in democracy and justice, demand that the government of India:

· Respect the peaceful struggle of people like Irom Sharmila and immediately withdraw all restrictions on her mobility as well as her freedom to meet and interact with people

· Release her from custody without any further delay

· Drop all facetious cases against her

Moreover, the government must:

· Repeal the AFSPA with immediate effect

· Implement the recommendations of the Justive Jeevan Reddy Committee and the Administrative Reforms Commission.

· B ring the armed forces within the democratic framework of accountability and justice without any further delay.

Only then can the people of the north-east and J&K have any chance or hope to live with security and dignity.


Please email the Statement to the following (and copy us in so we know how much support the campaign is getting):

President of India, Sushri Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Shivraj V. Patil, Minister of Defence, Mr. A. K. Antony, Minister of State for Labour & Employment, Mr. Oscar Fernandes,

Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. O. Ibobi Singh, Governor of Manipur, Shri Ved Marwah.

Compiled email list:,,,,, ,,

Copy to:, ,

2. Sign the petition!

· Please forward this to as many people as you can on your mailing list and various list serves, and sign the online petition against Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 at this link:

3. Stay in touch with Sharmila!

· You can also write directly to Sharmila and send her messages of solidarity at:-
Irom Sharmila Chanu
Security Ward
Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital

Imphal – 795001

This update is an attempt to keep informed all those in solidarity with Sharmila, who resolutely persists in her demand for the repeal of an anti-people law.

In Solidarity

Kshetrimayum Onil, Reachout –

Preeti Verma (Human Rights Law Network) –

Vani Subramanian (Saheli) –

(Please circulate)

Participants to the GAHRFS 2007 Chosen

Folk school is a pedagogy emulated all over the world as an alternative, democratic and popular medium of education. The May 18 Memorial Foundation will be hosting the 4th Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School from 3-14 September 2007. Twenty-five (25) participants from 14 Asian countries will attend the folk school.

The aim of the folk school is to contribute to the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia and provide participants an opportunity to learn and experience Korea’s history and the development process of its human rights and democracy. The Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School will be conducted both on a theoretical and practical experiences through seminars, workshops, discussions, and field trips to Korea’s sites of democratization movements.

Participants of the folk school were chosen among applicants who are human rights activists, development workers, and advocates of democracy and peace. They belong to different fields and sectors such as the academe, media, cultural workers, informal sector, urban poor group, youth and other non-government organizations (NGOs).

Sungkonghoe University that offers Masters in NGO Studies in partnership with The May 18 Memorial Foundation encourages participants to apply for scholarship after the folk school.

List of Participants to the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folks School 2007:

1) Damaso Guerrero Magbual

2) Maria Bernadette Damairia Pakpahan

3) Wardah Hafidz

4) Pulikuthiyil Ulahannan Varkey

5) Abdul Latif

6) Bidhayak Das

7) Him Yun

8) Jinine Laishramcha

9) Mohd. Moosa Azami

10) Rupesh Nepal

11) Anna Rosario Dejarlo Malindog

12) Batkhishig Badarch

13) Corona Ducay Dolot

14) Li Yoon Pook

15) Wirayanti

16) John Smith Thang

17) Bimal Babu Khatri

18) Kunchung Lin

19) Nguyen Van Quynh

20) Tah Moon Hui

21) Eun-mi Postma

22) Lola Amelia

23) Lucille Abeykoon

24) Ratchada Arpornsilp

25) Wen Zhou

The May 18 Memorial Foundation
International Cooperation Team

2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folkschool Participants To Be Announced

Warm Greetings ! 🙂

The results of the 2007 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folkschool applications will be announced tomorrow – 8th August 2007.

So folks, do keep a lookout for that e-mail from us.

All the best 🙂

Have a beautiful day. 🙂

The International Cooperation Team

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