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Activists from South Asia Discuss on Gwangju Declarations in Sri Lanka

In solidarity, Executive Director Cho Jintae poses for the photograph with the
laureates of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR) in Sri Lanka

Human rights defenders from South Asia discussed the Gwangju Declarations on the right to justice, peace, and culture, in a three-day-long workshop in Sri Lanka.

The regional workshop was jointly organized by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the May 18 Memorial Foundation in Negombo from October 13 to 15.

Participants from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh discussed the human rights situation in their respective countries based on the declarations on the right to justice, right to peace, and right to culture.

Meanwhile, participants from Bangladesh, while sharing the situation on the right to justice, narrated how a judge had to go on exile for defying the incumbent government. He was Mr. Mohammad Motahar Hossain, serving a District and Sessions Judge of Bangladesh. He was assigned by the government to try a politically motivated money laundering case in the Special Sessions Judge's Court in Dhaka. During the session, the former judge’s conversation was streamed live via Skype during the workshop.

Mr. Basil Fernando, Director for Policy and Program at AHRC,
facilitates the workshop in Sri Lanka

Earlier in May, these three declarations, namely the right to justice, right to peace, and right to culture, were launched during this year’s Gwangju Asia Forum. These documents are a supplement to Asian Human Rights Charter launched in Gwangju, South Korea on May 17, 1998, as a joint effort of the AHRC and the May 18 Memorial Foundation. The Charter, which is also known as the People’s Charter, stands out as one of the inspirations from great struggles for freedom in Asia, including the struggle by the citizens of Gwangju in 1980. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Asian Human Rights Charter, which was established on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1998.

The Foundation and AHRC will hold a similar workshop with the human rights defenders from Southeast Asia in Indonesia in December.