Archive for the 'india' Category

Long Live Ms. Irom Sharmila!

The May 18 Memorial Foundation celebrates the news on the release of Ms. Irom Sharmila from police custody. Ms. Sharmila is a co-winner to the 2007 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Committee awarded Ms. Chanu as recognition and honor for her indefatigable efforts to improve human rights in India and the noble cause of social justice. Her example is an inspiration to the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain human rights, democracy and peace.

Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila has been fasting since November 2000 demanding for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. This act, for the last 50 years gives sweeping powers to the military that includes shooting or killing innocent civilians on mere suspicion with complete impunity. To date, not a single armed forces personnel has been indicted under the civilian law despite proven cases of human rights violations and abuse of their powers. And in 2004, no less than the Chief Minister of Manipur had admitted that over 20,000 people had been killed since 1972.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation supports the call of Ms. Irom Chanu Sharmila to have this draconian law repealed. The foundation established by the citizens of Gwangju in order to commemorate and preserve the spirit of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, believes in the right of the people to have their human rights respected, for the rule of law and ideals of democracy to prevail and an end to all authoritarian and militaristic rule so that peace may reign.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation a non-profit organization established on August 30, 1994. 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 the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Long Live Ms. Irom Sharmila!



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

Excerpt from Mr. George’s Reflection

George Pulikuthiyil
Exec. Director
Jananeethi Institute
Kerala, India

What did I learn from the folk school?

1. The quest for freedom and democratic rights by the people of Asia and their unrelenting sufferings and struggles to achieve their fundamental rights as humans and as civilized body are similar and unequivocal. Democracy, no matter the diverse social, cultural or political hegemonies, was fought and won through eternal vigilance and wary surveillance over decades and for many generations. The cost of democracy was abhorrent sufferings, blood bath, tortured death, physical and mental persecution, unending anguish, pain and unsurmountable perseverance.

2. The brutal dictators, the tyrants, the perpetrators of torture, the power mongers and the irate and monstrous invaders of human and democratic rights make no difference in all countries and at all times. Their language has been violence, their strategy was elimination of critics and opponents, their targets were unhindered abuse of power and misappropriation of the wealth and resources of the nation and deprivation of the human and democratic rights of the people.

3. Democracy means development of people. It means the strengthening of the poor and the marginalized, the weak and vulnerable. It is possible and is successful only where the people are organized, motivated and capable of defending their civil liberties. This needs constructive and diligent educational and capacity building programs, innovative cultural expressions, rigorous monitoring of public governance, responsible citizenship, access to justice and equity, decentralization of power, transparency and accountability of public servants including those in power, and appropriate, scientific documentation.

4. During the 18 days of my stay in Gwangju, enjoying the profound hospitality and patronage of The May 18 Memorial Foundation, I could feel, see, read and learn from class rooms, audio visuals, visits to monumental places, exhibitions, institutions, archives, and further by interacting and exchanging views with people who are living monuments and legends of the epoch making people’s uprising for democracy and human rights against tyranny and oppression in the 1980s.

My appreciation and admiration:

The commitment of 5.18 Memorial Foundation to democracy and human rights and its profound efforts for nurturing its legacies through its progenies are laudable. I place on record my heart-felt thanks and gratitude to every member of the wonderful Team for international cooperation in the Foundation. I wish to express my gratitude to Mr.Hong Gil Lee, the Chairman, Mr.Myungsuk Cha, the Executive Director, Mr.Jintae Jo, the General Secretary and Mr.Chanho Kim, the Director of International Cooperation Team for giving me this opportunity to be part of the 2007 folk school.

I am grateful to my organization, my colleagues in the office for their encouragements and support in this regard. Lastly, I congratulate myself for applying to this prestigious and much coveted training program.

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518 Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School