Category Archives: Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

Call for Nominations for the 2020 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the call for Call for Nominations for the 2020 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

Call for 2020 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

1. The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR)

About the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

To promote the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement, in which the people of Gwangju resisted brutal military forces for the sake of democracy and human rights in 1980, the May 18 Memorial Foundation recognizes the exemplary efforts of individuals and organizations aspiring to the restoration of justice and human rights in their respective countries through the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Prize. 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. 

The prize is 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.  

Qualified Nominators

A nomination for the GPHR can be submitted by any individual or organization who meets the nomination criteria. Any nomination is considered valid if itis submitted by a person or an organization that falls within one of the following categories:

1.Individuals or organizations who won the May 18 Citizens Award and/or YunSang-won Award

2.Laureates of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

3.Organizations in Korea or overseas working for human rights, peace, and the reunification of Korea that have been active three years or more and that the May 18 Memorial Foundation Directorate decides to request their nomination

4.Any individual or organization in Korea or overseas that agrees on the purpose of the GPHR

Candidacy Criteria

The candidates eligible for the GPHR are those persons or organizations nominated by a qualified individual or a qualified organization. A nomination of oneself-will not be taken into consideration. For more information please visit this link https://bit.ly/2p74OKa

Selection of the GPHR

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the GPHR. 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.

Submission

Submission Period: November 1 ~ November 30, 2019.

Required Submission Documents

i)   Nomination Form (download the attachment)  

ii)  Two ID Photos (paste them on the designated spots)

iii)  Other materials that can substantiate activities and eligibility for the award 

iv)  Send all documents via E-mail to gwangjuprize@gmail.com

The GPHR Award Prize

The winner of the GPHR will receive a certificate, a medal, and cash award of $ 50,000 USD.

Submission Confirmation

An email 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

Gwangju Asia Forum 2019 Calls for the International Community to Stand Against Genocide and Protect Refugees

On May 17, 2019, prominent human rights defenders, students, academicians from all the world and people of Gwangju gathered to discuss significant human rights issues of the world. The purpose of the gathering was to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the pro-democracy social movement of 1980 in Gwangju. The participants unanimously shared the Gwangju Declaration, which emphasized “When will Massacre and Exclusion End? Stop denying the May 18 Democratic Uprising and the hatred against Refugees”.

The fundamental idea of the Gwangju Declaration was to highlight and discuss recent human rights challenges about genocide, refugees, and hate remarks against the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising and call for the international community to resolve such serious human rights issues. 

The May 18 Democratic Uprising is known as a milestone of South Korea’s democratization movements and modern democracy. Besides, it has made significant impact on other countries democratic struggles in Asia. However, even though the Special Act on Discovering the Truth of the May 18 Democratic Uprising has been approved by the National Assembly of Korea, a committee has yet to be established.

Peace Park, Gwangju 2019

It is because the opposition party has nominated persons who deny the May 18 Uprising. However, the hate remarks by a member of a political party are not only hurting the May 18 sacrifices but is also causing division in the nation. Therefore, human rights defenders, academics, and people of Gwangju stated in the Declaration “Stop denying and attacking the May 18 Democratic Uprising. Denying history without clear evidence and attacking victims of state violence is an act of whitewashing the genocide. What we need to do now is to start the truth-finding project which has been delayed for 39 years. For truth-finding, a special investigation committee should be established as soon as possible”.

Gwangju Asia Forum 2019, Gwanggju, Korea

Besides, to continue the interrupted history correction process in Korea, a Framework Act for Truth, Reconciliation, and History correction should be passed. Facing the past is a universal agenda, especially in a country that experienced an authoritarian regime. And the revision of history should not be established based on political or ideological motives.

It should focus on truth-finding, recovering victims’ rights, preventing future human rights violation, and constructing social harmony in Korea.

Presently, the modern world is facing various armed conflicts that has triggered around 68 million peoples displacement, and among them, approximately 7.7 million peoples are living in Asia. In Asia, about 3.5 million are refugees, 1.9 million are internally displaced, and 1.4 millions are stateless. Asia produces shelters for refugees, including Rohingya refugees, who are fleeing from a tragic and violent campaign of genocide. These refugees in Asia are not sufficiently protected. However, they are not recognised as rights-holders. They are being detained, deported, and are struggling to survive outside the protection of legal safeguard and public support. Therefore, the Gwangju Asia Forum called to protect and asserted the following recommendation about the protection of refugees.

A photo of Students from Different countries in Gwangju Asia Forum 2019

First, that all Governments must ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and it’s 1967 Protocol.

Secondly, governments who already ratified that refugee convention should amend or enact domestic laws to bring refugee protection mechanisms.

Thirdly, all governments should develop a refugee status determination procedures following international human rights norms.

Finally, all governments must implement laws and policies to prevent hatred and discrimination against refugees through instruments such as comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and practical measures for education against hate and bigotry.

Moreover, civil society organisations should give importance to the voices of refugees in their advocacy efforts who are not passive subjects but are primary stakeholders of refugees issues in the world.

The Gwangju Asia Forum launched its Declaration to mark the 39th commemoration of the May 18 Uprising and thousands of the peoples, including the survivors and the victims’ families, thronged the May 18 National Cemetery in Gwangju. The participants shared their grief and anger against the then military dictatorship. The people of Gwangju declared that they will never surrender to any tyrant and will keep promoting the May 18 Spirit in Korea and all around the world.

stepie don dinesh

Global NGO Masters Program

Global NGO Master’s Program (GNMP) is a master’s degree offered by the May 18 Institute at the Chonnam National University in Gwangju, with a full scholarship granted by the May 18 Memorial Foundation. It is a four-semester two-year program. The GNMP is intended for the people who have been contributing or have the potential to contribute to leading social progress in Asia-Africa.

The program started in 2016 as a theoretical and practical educational platform for international sharing and expanding of the spirit and experiences of MAY 18 Gwangju Civilian Movement on site. The GNMP works closely with the May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju, the official body commemorating the democratic struggle in Gwangju on May 18, 1980, and the students have an excellent chance to know and trace the spirit and history of democracy movement of Korea. We aim at strengthening democratic civil society through NGO workers’ global networking and solidarity across borders. For this purpose, the program provides the foreign students with a good scholarship opportunity and a living stipend.

The first batch of GNMP scholars, consisting of three students from Burkina Faso, Thailand, and Nepal, completed their course last 2018. Currently, the program has seven students from Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

To learn more about this program, please click here.

FAQ: 2019 GPHR Nomination

This is a set of frequently asked questions related to the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. The answers have been prepared based on the responses to the queries by nominators and those interested in this award. 

1. Who is the referee?

The referee is someone who can endorse the Prize nomination submitted by a nominator. A nominator must designate one referee who knows well about the nominee and understands his/her/its main achievements.

When the May 18 Memorial Foundation needs further information or have any inquiry about the nominee it can contact both the nominator and the nominee.

2. The nominee is not from Asia. Is he/she/it still eligible for the Prize?

The Prize goes to an individual or an organization that has struggled for or contributed to the improvement and advancement of human rights, democracy and peace in their community and country, regardless of his/her/its nationality.   

3. Can I nominate the chairperson of the organization I work at present? Can I nominate the organization I am working for? 

An individual cannot be nominated by his/her own organization. Likewise, an individual working for the organization cannot nominate his/her organization.

4. What is the difference between the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights and the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award?

To promote the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement, in which the people of Gwangju resisted against brutal military forces for the sake of democracy and human rights in 1980, the May 18 Memorial Foundation recognizes the exemplary efforts of individuals and organizations aspiring to the restoration of justice and human rights in their respective countries through the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Prize. 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. 

Both the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR) and the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award (GPHR Special Award) go to the individual (s) or organization (s) that has/have struggled for or contributed to the improvement and advancement of human rights, democracy, and peace in their community and country. In particular, the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Special Award is aimed at awarding those that have contributed to the promotion of democracy and human rights through research, journalism, culture or any form of art.  

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. 

5. Is it possible to nominate one nominee for both the GPHR and the GPHR Special Award?

A nominator can nominate only one nominee for the GPHR or GPHR Special Award.  nee. 

6. I have integral information on the nominee. However, I do not fully understand what kind of reference I should submit for nomination. Is it the reference of the nominator’s organization or the reference of the nominee?

If the nominee is an individual the reference must focus on his/her major achievements and important activities rather than his/her organizational activities. If an individual’s work is deeply interlinked with his/her organization, nomination must describe his/her contribution to the organizational work in detail.

7. I have integral information regarding the nominee. However, some supporting documents are not written in English. Can I submit those items?

The nomination form and supporting documents must be submitted in either Korean or  English. 

8. When is the public announcement of the Prize winner?

The Prize committee chooses a winner approximately 120 days from the application deadline. The public announcement and press conference for this year’s award will be held in the mid-April.

9. Should all documents be sent by both e-mail and post?

All documents should be sent either by email or post. If you send hard copies to the Foundation by post, please be sure you have included all requirements in one envelope.

Foundation welcomes 2018-2020 batch of GNMP students

GNMP

IN THIS PHOTO: GNMP newcomers Shan Nawaz (left) from Pakistan, Rosy KC from Nepal, Chhakchhuak Lalremruata from India, Nong Thi Nghi Phuong Fiona from Vietnam, and GM Nur Lintang Muhammad from Indonesia visit the May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju on Friday, September 28.

May 18 Memorial Foundation welcomed the scholars from the third cohort of the Global NGO Master’s Program (GNMP) on Friday.

The GNMP, started by the Foundation in 2016, is a two-year-long master program at the May 18 Institute, Chonnam National University, Gwangju.

The students for GNMP 3rd cohort are Chhakchhuak Lalremruata from India, GM Nur Lintang Muhammad from Indonesia, Rosy KC from Nepal, Shah Nawaz from Pakistan, and Nong Thi Nghi Phuong Fiona from Vietnam.

In their first visit, the Foundation team organized a short orientation to the newcomers. They interacted with the team members of the Foundation, including Chairperson Mr. Lee Chulwoo, Executive Director Mr. Cho Jintae, Secretary General Mr. Lee Gibong and Director of the International Affairs Department Ms. You Inrae. They made a short tour of the different departments of the Foundation.

GNMP

The new GNMP students pose with Mr. Lee Chulwol, Chairperson of the Foundation, Ms. You Inrae, Director of the International Affairs Department, GNMP 2nd cohort, and other staff members.

The first batch of GNMP students has recently graduated this August while those in the second batch are currently pursuing their studies.

Activists of human rights, democracy attend May 18 Academy 2018

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A total of 25 human rights defenders from 15 different countries participated in this year’s May 18 Academy held in the cities of Seoul, Gwangju, and Jeju in South Korea from September 3 to 17.

The May 18 Academy is a two-week-long education/training program organized by the May 18 Memorial Foundation to welcome international civil society activists working for human rights, democracy, and peace. The May 18 Academy provides special lectures based on the May 18 Spirit and a valuable opportunity to share experiences among activists in solidarity. This event also promotes a better understanding of Korean modern history and commemoration events for democracy, human rights and peace movements among the participants.

This was the 14th year of the May 18 Memorial Foundation’s initiative for human rights education, which was started in 2004.

The first leg of the May 18 Academy was held in Seoul, where participants listened to lectures of Mr. Anselmo Lee of the Asia Democracy Network and Mr. Francis Lee of Sung Kong Hoe University. Their lectures revolved on the human rights situation in Asia and in Korea before and after the Korean War. While in Seoul, participants visited several key historical sites in the capital such as the Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Blue House (or Cheongwadae), Imjingak Resort and Dorasan Railway Station among others.

In Gwangju, the participants visited the 518 Archives, Jeolla Provincial Hall, Gwangju Biennale 2018. Chan-ho Kim of the Gwangju Trauma Center served as the guide in facilitating their visit to the May 18 National Cemetery.

Key figures in the Foundation and in the country spoke about the Gwangju Uprising and detailed aspects of the May 18 Democratization Movement. The facilitators were Youngmi Yang, a member of Planning Committee at the May 18 Memorial Foundation and member of People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Kim Jung-eun of Chonnam National University, Hyun-ae Jung, Representative Director of the May Mother’s House, Kim Jong-ryul , General Secretary of the Gwangju Cultural Foundation, and Choi Yong-ju of the History Department at Chonnam National University and Senior Researcher at the Foundation.

The two-day visit to Jeju was hosted by the Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation. While in Jeju, participants visited historical sites such as Jeju 4.3 Peace Park and Museum, and Bukchon Village. The visit was accompanied by lectures on the April 3 Uprising and Massacre. Upon their return from Jeju, participants visited the Gwangju Trauma Center and explored its facilities and programs. They listened to lectures by Chun-hee Lee and Hermien Kleden, Senior Editor and Media Mentor at Indonesian news outlet Tempo Media. Lee Kwangsu, one of Board Directors at the May 18 Memorial Foundation and a lecturer at Busan University of Foreign Studies, delivered the final lecture of the academy.

In addition, all the participants presented the human rights situation, and the activities carried out by them and their organizations in their respective countries. For the group presentations, six groups of participants also presented the common contemporary issues of human rights and democratization in their countries.

The May 18 Academy concluded with a formal graduation ceremony wherein Foundations Executive Director Mr. Cho Jintae felicitated the participants with certificates. Ms. You Inrae, Director of the International Affairs Department, had conducted the graduation ceremony.

May 18 Academy

The May 18 Academy is a two-week-long education/training program designed for international civil society activists working for human rights, democracy, and peace. The May 18 Academy provides special lectures based on the May spirit and a valuable opportunity to share experiences among activists in solidarity. The Academy has started since 2004.

We welcome international civil society activists from around the world to promote a better understanding of Korean modern history and of commemoration events for democracy, human rights, and peace movements.

To learn more about the academy, please read the report of the May 18 Academy 2018

Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

To promote the spirit of the May 18 Democratization Movement, in which the people of Gwangju resisted against brutal military forces for the sake of democracy and human rights in 1980, the May 18 Memorial Foundation recognizes the exemplary efforts of individuals and organizations aspiring to the restoration of justice and human rights in their respective countries through the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Prize.

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.

Likewise, Special Prize for Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is for an individual or an organization that has contributed to the promotion of democracy and human rights through cultural activities, journalism, and 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.

In 2018, the ‘Gwangju Prize for Human Rights’ was bestowed on Fr. Nandana Manatunga for his remarkable contribution in supporting the victims of the state violence during Sri Lanka’s Dark Age between 2005 and 2015. Fr. Nandana has especially stood on the side of the victims, who have suffered under the dictatorship of the Executive of the country, to fight for them. The victims who had been illegally incarcerated for 7 or 8 years without trials were freed with the help of Fr. Nandana.

For the call for the 2019 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights nominations, please click here https://518org.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/foundation-announces-call-for-gwangju-prize-awardees/