Posts Tagged ‘South Korea’

Call for Nominations: Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2019 and the Special Prize

December 7, 2018

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the call for 2019 nominations for the following Prizes:

1. The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR): It carries a cash award of $ 50,000 USD.
2. The Special Prize of the GPHR (SPGPHR): It carries a cash award of $ 10,000 USD.

Since 2000, the Foundation has been bestowing the ‘Gwangju Prize for Human Rights’ to individuals, groups and institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy and peace in their work. Last year’s: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/12/18/award-winning-bersih-2-0-saw-speech-censored-by-taiwan-award-giver/

See also: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/gwangju-prize-for-human-rights

SPGPHR is for an individual or an organization that has contributed to the promotion of democracy and human rights through cultural activities, journalism, and in academic fields.  These prizes are awarded by the citizens of Gwangju in the spirit of solidarity and gratitude to those who have helped them in their struggle for democratization and their search for truth. It is hoped that through this award, the spirit and message of May 18 will be immortalized in the hearts and minds of humankind.

Selection of the GPHR and SPGPHR

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the GPHR and the SPGPHR laureates. The selection committee is composed of seven members who are designated by the May 18 Memorial Foundation’s Articles of Association. The rest of the procedure will abide by the Articles of Association.

Deadline: December 31, 2018 (by 24:00 Korea time)

Required Submission Documents
i) Nomination Form (Download the attachment)
ii) Two ID Pictures (paste them on the designated spots)
iii) Other materials that can substantiate your activities and eligibility for the award
iv) How & to Whom: Via E-mail to gwangjuprize@gmail.com

Submission Confirmation
E-mail confirming the receipt and validity of the submitted nomination will be sent out to the nominator once the submission is complete.


For more information, please visit http://eng.518.org/ or email to gwangjuprize@gmail.com.

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/11/01/asian-peoples-charter-for-human-rights-needs-updating/

Korean people win Friedrich Ebert human rights award for candlelight rallies

October 18, 2017

Readers of this blog know my special interest in human rights awards. So you will understand my surprise to learn that the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has granted its 2017 Human Rights Award to all South Korean citizens (a total of 17 million!!) who took to the streets to protest against President Park Geun-hye for months and peacefully removed her from power.

Sven Schwersensky, resident representative at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s Korea office, talks about the Human Rights Prize during a press briefing Monday (Yonhap)

As Ock Hyun-ju reported in the Korea Herald of 16 October 2017: “The peaceful exercise of democratic participation and in particular the civic right of peaceful assembly are the essential components of democracy,” said Sven Schwersensky, resident representative in Korea. “In our view, the people’s candlelight demonstrations have given the whole world evidence of this important fact….At the time, authoritarianism was on the rise everywhere in the world, even in the western world,” he said, citing the UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai, who addressed the diminishing rights to public assembly and free speech under the former Park administration during his visit to Korea in 2016. “People of Korea showed resistance to authoritarianism.”

The organizing committee for candlelight demonstrations — an association of over 1,500 civic groups, labor unions and student organizations — took the prize on behalf of all Koreans. The committee received 20,000 euros ($23,590) in prize money. How the money will be spent has not been decided yet, it said.  The award ceremony will take place in Berlin on 5 December. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/11/12/friedrich-ebert-award-goes-to-fartuun-adan-from-somalia/]

More about the FES Human Rights Prize: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/friedrich-ebert-foundation-human-rights-award

Source: [Newsmaker] Koreans win global prize for candlelight rallies

Patt Derian – the rare politician/human rights defender – no longer

May 30, 2016

Being a leading politician and human rights defender does not always go together well. Patricia Murphy (“Patt”) Derian was one of the exceptions. She passed away on 20 May 2016 at the age of 86. She was an American civil rights and human rights activist, who served under President Carter from 1977 to 1981.DERIAN PATT

After Jimmy Carter won the election, he nominated Derian to be Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs and elevated the post to that of Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs effective August 17, 1977, and Derian served in that capacity for the remainder of the Carter administration. In this post she worked to improve policy coordination on humanitarian issues such as human rights, refugees, and prisoners of war.

Derian was a vocal critic of Jeane Kirkpatrick and of the so-called Kirkpatrick Doctrine during the 1980s, which advocated U.S. support of anticommunist governments around the world, including authoritarian dictatorships, if they went along with Washington’s aims —believing they could be led into democracy by example. Kirkpatrick wrote, “Traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies.” Derian objected to Kirkpatrick’s characterization of some governments as only “moderately repressive,” arguing that this line of thinking allowed the U.S. to support “a little bit of torture” or “moderate” prison sentences for political dissenters. Derian pointed out that, when it comes to human rights, in terms of morality, credibility and effectiveness, “you always have to play it straight.” Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights Defender profile: Park Lae-goon from South Korea

March 3, 2016

On 2 March 2016 the ISHR published a profile of human rights defender Park Lae-goon who promotes freedom of assembly and association while combating against State impunity. With 28 years of experience, he has been detained multiple times for participating in demonstrations demanding justice. Mr Park has become a symbolic figure fighting for victims of State violence in South Korea. In my next post I will devote attention to the new South Korean Act on Human Rights which aims more on North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

‘The Interview’ Sequel plays at the Korean Border

April 21, 2015

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) of 20 April 2015 contains an interesting and detailed piece by Paul Bond who went with the Human Rights Foundation on a trip to South Korea, to see how defector send films, television shows, books, and offline versions of Wikipedia into North Korea. The experience inspired nine articles, all of them published on THR’s website, but the centerpiece is this one: ‘The Interview’ Sequel: Inside the Frightening Battle Raging on the North Korean Border’.  The articles all together give an interesting picture of the powerful role that film can play in the case of closed societies where there is hardly any internet (here North Korean), but also how the South Korean authorities out of fear for retaliation limit the human rights defenders’ actions.

Left: U.S. resident Thor Halvorssen filled bags with The Interview,leaflets and American music to be ballooned into North Korea but was stopped April 9 by South Korean police. Right: Lee Min Bok prepared a balloon with Interview,Zero Dark Thirtyand U.S. dollars but was prevented from launching it by two guards.

 

To trick North Korean authorities, Interview begins with state propaganda clips before switching abruptly to a 12-minute subtitled edit of Interview — a bit from the beginning, middle and end, with the more vulgar parts removed.

For the full article please go to: ‘The Interview’ Sequel: Inside the Frightening Battle Raging on the North Korean Border – Hollywood Reporter.

 

Monday 2 March, start of the #idefend campaign

February 28, 2015

On Monday 2 March 2015 starts the “#idefend – Making sure civil society has its voice” campaign. It is an initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Tunisia.

The #idefend campaign takes a public stance to support the voices of civil society.#idefend aims at expressing solidarity with all those human rights defenders and civil society actors, whose dedication and everyday work improve the human rights of people in every corner of the world. Join the campaign and help empower those who speak up for human rights!

Human rights defenders are not violent seditionists, criminals, nor bloody revolutionaries, as so many governments like to portray them. They are the best of us, all of us. And they have a message. To all governments, we say: focus on their message. Listen to what they are saying. Understand the message, talk to them about it, be persuaded or persuade, without violence, instead of silencing them, punishing them, their families, and their communities.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sadly, over the past years, we have observed a worrying trend at the Human Rights Council: Human Rights Defenders and civil society representatives are hampered from speaking at the Council, sometimes they are harassed upon their arrival to Geneva, or subject to reprisals in their home country upon their return. This is not acceptable.
Peter Sørensen, Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations

#idefend | Making sure civil society has its voice.

Regional ‘Asia Democracy Network’ created in Seoul

October 30, 2013

Tibet-Korea-2013

(The Founding Assembly of the ‘Asia Democracy Network’ and the ‘3rd Seoul Democracy Forum’ held in Seoul, Korea .Photo: TPI)

The meeting held from 21 – 24 October 2013 in Seoul, South Korea, was attended by the over 80 civic leaders, democracy activists human rights defenders from all corners of Asia. The Asia Democracy Network [ADN] is a joint initiative Read the rest of this entry »

Special Rapporteur ends visit to South Korea and makes recommendations

June 7, 2013

At the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to South Korea UN special rapporteur on human rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, said Friday that South Korea’s 65-year-old national security act posed a “seriously problematic” challenge to freedom of expression.  It prohibits the printing, distribution and ownership of any material deemed “anti-state” and outlaws any organisation advocating overthrow of the government.Flag of South Korea
I have been acquainted with the national security act which, despite the fact that it has been amended on several occasions, still appears seriously problematic for the exercise of freedom of expression,Sekaggya said.   Read the rest of this entry »

Forced return to North Korea: Laos and China seem not to know the concept of non-refoulement

June 2, 2013

Nine North-Korean defectors, aged 15 to 23, entered Laos through China on 9 May 2013 and were caught by Laotian authorities on 16 May. They were sent back home on Tuesday 28 May via China. [Under North Korean law, defectors face a minimum of five years of hard labour and as much as life in prison or the death penalty in cases deemed particularly serious]  UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, urged Chinese and Laotian authorities to publicly clarify the fate of the nine defectors and the conditions of their return, which apparently violated international law, UN deputy spokesperson

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

said. “The High Commissioner’s office is dismayed that the governments of Laos and China appear to have abrogated their non-refoulement obligations, especially given the vulnerability of that group, all of whom are reported to be orphans” The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Thursday in a statement that it is trying to locate the defectors and expressed concern that they did not receive a chance to have their asylum claims assessed.

via UN protests return of N Korean defectors | News24.

Italian Flavia Pansieri new Deputy UN High Commissioner For Human Rights

March 16, 2013


(Flavia Pansieri with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Flavia Pansieri of Italy as the new Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, it was announced today. Ms. Pansieri will replace Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea “to whom the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights are grateful for her dedicated service to the United Nations human rights programme during the past six years.” This praise is totally deserved i should add. Most recently, Ms. Pansieri served as the Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteers (UNV) Programme. She brings to her new position nearly 30 years of experience with the UN around the world, including in Yemen, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and New York.