Introducing Human Asia’s Secretary General! We would like to introduce Human Asia’s Secretary General Jeongeum Choi who joined us from last year. Hello! I am Jeongeum Choi, Human Asia’s Secretary General. It’s already been half a year since I joined Human Asia. I interpret human rights as fighting for the 'Right Rights'. I believe human rights advocacy is all about working for rights that are valid from anyone and everyone’s eyes. I will strive to expand Human Asia’s various activities to contribute towards the future of the human rights field. Your support will be much appreciated in our journey. Thank you.
On Monday, December 11th, Human Asia received the donation of 5 million won from ‘Match is on’. This donation was raised through “Dribble Time Attack”, a social contribution contents organized by ‘The2Top’ and ‘Jugamos’ in 2020. ‘Jugamos’, a non-profit organization founded to develop social contribution projects through sports, has been donating participation fee and PR revenue by holding charity events. It has also been contributing to the spread of domestic and foreign donation culture by producing various contents related to soccer with ‘The2Top’. ‘The2Top’ declared that they will continue to strive to develop domestic and international donation culture by producing and providing contents designed for social contribution. We, Human Asia, sincerely thank Match is on, The2Top and Jugamos for their warm support. We promise to work our best to ensure that the valuable donation would be used in a meaningful way.
Apart But Together: Human Asia 2020 Due to the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 was a tough year for everybody. Human Asia was no exception. Nevertheless, thanks to your interest and support, Human Asia was consistently able to conduct human rights advocacy and human rights-based development activities. Below is our yearly 2020 video , showing how Human Asia's partners and supporters collaborated to support regional human rights protection from a distance. We hope all of you will keep an eye on Human Asia's 2021 closely and support us continually in the new year. Click here to watch the video!
We would like to introduce our new intern, who will be working with us from December 2020 until February 2021. Yeri Lee Hello! My name is Yeri Lee, working at Human Asia through the Citi-Kyung Hee NGO internship programme. My major is Political Science and Diplomacy and I took classes related to minority politics, global terrorism, international conflicts, etc. By doing so, I became interested in the international cooperation to solve these problems and the human rights issues of individuals in the grand framework of the world. I have got a good opportunity to be an intern at Human Asia, and I want to learn about human rights protection and development and get experience.
Happy Human Rights Day from Human Asia! We had a very busy day despite COVID-19! Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We started our day at 10:00am with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. Seven young activists represented Human Asia and sang the Korean National Anthem at the virtual online celebration for the 72nd Anniversary of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They did a great job! From 11:00am, Hyunchan Jung, our Program Officer for the Policy Research Team, gave a presentation on Human Asia’s work this year and businesses and human rights at the Virtual Human Rights Day Virtual Reception event, hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea. At 3:00pm, Professor Minwoo Kim (Managing Director of Human Asia’s Asia Business and Human Rights Center and Research Professor at Korea University Human Rights Center) virtually participated as a discussant at the ‘Sustainable Human Rights Policies: Public Hearing on the 2nd Plan for the Promotion of Human Rights in Seongbuk-gu’. Although COVID-19 has changed the way we’ve tried to promote human rights for all in Asia this year, we were very grateful for these opportunities to actively participate in Human Rights Day this year. We will keep working to create a free and open Asia for all.Stay safe! P.S. Thank you again to the above organisations and involved individuals for your invitations and support.
We would like to introduce our new interns, who will be working with our International Coordination Team from November until April 2021. Seongjun (James) Lee Hello! My name is Seongjun Lee (James) and I will be working as a Project Intern for the International Cooperation Team of Human Asia. With rapid technological and scientific development, various social problems that were unthinkable in the past have become our reality. In order to solve the various problems presented by modern society, close and nimble cooperation is essential not only between NGOs, but also people and governments, businesses and activists alike. As a Project Intern for Human Asia’s International Cooperation Team, I will do my best to carry out work with communication and cooperation, helping to achieve Human Asia's vision and mission of shining the light of human rights to Asia and the world. Also, I will try to work together steadily so that we can all coexist in a better world. Minju Demi Kim Hi, my name is Minju. Minju means democracy in Korean; so my English name’s Demi. I am a new intern of HumanAsia for A2M and EAYAN Networking projects. As a kid who always got in trouble for reading past bedtime, I’ve loved learning and writing about different stories about the world. With the journalistic ambition to know more about social issues and let people around me get to know the news better, I was hugely inspired with Malala Yousafzai’s advocacy for education rights in 2010. Since then, I’ve been building my own career path that could converge my interest in human rights and multimodal communication skills.I’m mainly interested in gender-based human rights, especially on the relationship between education disparities and different genders. I’m also studying migrant issues and rights of refugees.
Meet the CSOs Interview - Hyunchan Jung, Policy & Research Team, Human Asia Hyunchan Jung, Program Officer with the Policy & Research Team at Human Asia, was recently interviewed and featured on the Korea-EU CSO Network (KEN)’s homepage and newsletter. The interview covered the history and mission of Human Asia; our strategy for raising awareness and engaging citizens on human rights issues, and Hyunchan’s personal background and interest in becoming a regional activist for human rights along with his thoughts on European civil society groups. We would like to thank KEN for highlighting Hyunchan’s continual efforts with Human Asia in improving regional human rights situations in Asia. You can read the interview here: https://en.kencso.org/humanasia-hyunchanjung
Human Asia President Changrok Soh elected as the first Korean member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Changrok Soh, President of Human Asia, has been elected as the first Korean member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The election was held on September 17 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Changrok Soh received the support of 117 out of 173 member states of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Our President’s entry to the Human is particularly meaningful given the intense competition for the position, with 14 candidates for 9 empty seats. He is further the first Korean to be elected to the committee since Korea ratified the ICCPR, which is a core part of UN human rights mechanisms. The Human Rights Committee consists of 18 international human rights experts, who are responsible for monitoring and advising the implementation of ICCPR by state parties. The committee is a major human rights body that examines the implementation of each state parties of the rights mentioned in ICCPR including the right to life, freedom of body, freedom of conscience and religion, prohibition of torture and inhumane treatment, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, etc. President Soh is a renowned human rights expert who serves as a Professor in Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies, a member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, and its Working Group on Communications. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “Our government actively supports the entry and support of Korean professionals to international human rights mechanisms, as a part of our contribution to the protection and promotion of international human rights. We look forward to seeing how Professor Soh’s entry into the Human Rights Committee will further contribute to our efforts to protect and promote international human rights.” Human Asia strives to establish a regional human rights protection system which is presently absent only in the Asian region. We aim to achieve a peaceful coexistence based on the recognition of diversity in various parts of Asia. We will continue our efforts to achieve an open Asia free from any kind of discrimination and create a human-centered Human Asia. We greatly appreciate your participation and support in all our activities to create a true “Human” Asia.
Did you know that there are 385,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong?⠀⠀The mostly female migrant workforce in Hong Kong is employed largely in childcare and housekeeping. They added a staggering $12.6 billion to the economy in 2018.⠀⠀Our intern, Jeeeon Lee, explores some of the human rights issues for female migrant domestic workers living in Hong Kong in 2020. Check out the card news to learn more! ✨⠀
Life in South Korea as an émigré This article is the personal account of the author Supan Chakma. Since I was old enough to remember, my mother has always said to me these three words: faith, confidence and judgment. Faith: Things that will resolve themselves. Confidence: In one’s own your ability. Judgment: Trust in one’s self and the system. These three strong words have led me through the easiest and most difficult decisions in my life almost with ease. My name is Supan Chakma. I was born on 1st October, 1992 at Babuchara, located at Dighinala Upazila, Bangladesh. Few months after my birth, my family had to escape and take shelter to neighboring state of Tripura, India as refugees due to an unfortunate incident that happened in the year 1993. On a newer world, my family had a difficult means of survival in a whole new other country where we were often teased and called as illegal immigrant and spent five years in refugee camp where we were struggling in building a new life. Looking back at those days, I can still imagine of growing up at a refugee camp along with two of my elder sisters. Believe me; it is as hurtful as those days when I think of those difficult but true moments. Inadequate food, unhygienic public sanitation, poverty and diseases were all we lived on and fought with. It was in the year 1998; my family had decided to return to Bangladesh for a better future. After escaping a genocide twenty six years ago which has not yet been recognized, and may never be, my parents instilled within me a burning ambition to succeed and make my circumstances my own. Difficult and never what one could call “normal,” my childhood memories are highlighted by embarrassment over my parents’ financial condition, shame over being an immigrant, shame over trying to hide it, losing out everything to the Army and stretches of poverty. The value of education is something that I have understood since a very young age. Neither of my parents had an opportunity to attend college, and faced many struggles in their personal and professional lives because of this. Even though, they made a commitment early in my life to do everything within their power to instil in me a love of learning and an understanding of the importance of hard work and dedication. Because of their love and sacrifice over the years, I have been able to devote the time and energy necessary to academic accomplishment though money has always been tight. Having completed my primary education from an orphanage cum residential school in Bangladesh, I had an opportunity to complete my higher secondary as well as my graduation from India under the prestigious Indian government scholarship. The root cause of the CHTs crisis lies in the policies of the government of Bangladesh which seek to establish homogenous Bengali muslim society. This implies the destruction of the identity of the indigenous Jumma peoples. 'Jumma' is the collective name for the eleven tribes of the CHTs. Over the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of Bengali settlers have been moved to the CHT. A long conflict between the indigenous people and the Bangladesh government has continued until 1997 which led to numerous heinous human rights violations, attacks, illegal land grabbing, and massacres. Ultimately, the "CHT Accord” (the CHT Peace Accord was signed on 2nd December 1997) which put a formal stop to the armed conflict. As per the CHT Accord, the promises of demilitarization, a new system of governance for indigenous people and a Land Commission to investigate and uphold indigenous land rights have not been kept. Almost 22years have passed since the accord was signed, still thousands of indigenous people remain landless and the area is effectively under military occupation. It is jeopardizing the life, land, culture, security, peace and development of the local indigenous Jumma people of CHT. My academic performance has been always on top of class. I contribute my grades to my diligence and motivation in the secondary high school. Since my childhood, I strongly feel that working to better society in a manner that utilizes one’s strengths for maximal effect is of the highest importance. It is somehow critical as members of a global society that we remain cognizant of the challenges that plague our fellow citizens, but this is not enough. We must take action to improve the condition of humanity through whatever skills we have. Believing this passion, I joined the movement with a regional party in Bangladesh. This was the only means to be able to contribute for my society. From the year 2010 to 2012; I have coordinated and worked with my party members by mobilizing citizens and distributing information through newspapers, radio, and mobile phones. I have participated in almost every demonstrations and rallies held in Chittagong Hill Tracts over the years, particularly in the Rangamati District. As an active member of one of the regional party, I have raised my voice against the Bangladesh government’s military system and the systematic ethnic cleansing. Simultaneously, after completing my Bachelor’s degree in 2015, I had resumed my political stint in the name of societal contribution with great pace as the situation back then was highly critical. In Bangladesh, our voice is suppressed by the government. It all started when I took part in students' protests against government abuses, and for my membership to the opposing party and my political opinions against the Government. I have worked in mobilizing the names against continuous land grabbing and human rights violations that made the military angry with me due to which they targeted me by false fabrication. Likewise, I became a soft target of the Bangladesh military and other forces. Thus, my history as a member of the opposing party made me a target and victim of Government violations of human rights. I have been personally detained twice before where I suffered excessive torture. In light of these human rights violations, I felt more unsafe to stay in the home country since then somehow at certain point of time; I could manage to leave my home country and moved cross-country to the South Korea almost two years ago. Unlike Bangladesh, I have never been so overwhelmed this much as I am in Korea- I love it here. It’s been almost two years, a home away home environment or more than that, I came to be a part of JPNK and giving back to the community in a positive way. Since my arrival in Korea, my identity is given respect and that means a lot to me. I believe that I would be able to adopt and learn in this great republic, liberal, secular and multicultural nation (Korea), and would contribute my potential to nation building in a very meaning full way. I have got this very plan to pursue my master’s degree from one of the reputed Korean university once I will be recognized by the Korean government. Therefore, I appeal to save my life from being persecuted and give me an opportunity to prove my worth as a faithful and recognized Korean citizen. Supan Chakma Bangladesh. Human Asia hopes that Supan’s story will spread awareness and concern about universal human rights issues; to feel a little closer to the lives of individual minorities and respect “human rights” as a dignified value in our lives rather than as an abstract concept. The value of education, parents devoted to improving their children’s lives, and persistently not giving up hope for a better society and life seems to resemble the familiar memories and imags of our own society.
South Korea has been reeling from a number of shocking digital sex crimes in the last few months. Sentences for convicted perpetrators remain questionably short.⠀⠀These incidents demonstrate the importance of constant attention and advocacy on gender issues and sex crimes. To explore more on this topic, check out "Dreaming of a Society Free from Digital Sex Crimes" by Hyeonjeong Kim here. ⠀
Happy World Refugee Day✨ Human Asia hopes that all kinds of discrimination and hatred against refugees across the world will be eliminated with love! #World Refugee Day #Withrefugees
Human Asia welcomes our new interns, who will be working with the Educational Development Team from June 2020. Yejin Son Hello! My name is Yejin Son, working as a Human Asia 2020 Project Intern. Growing up and living in India, I witnessed the importance of human rights awareness and the necessity of education to protect those who are persecuted and marginalised on religious, political, and cultural grounds. In college, I pursued my interest in human rights by majoring in International Studies, and hoped to work in protecting the rights of “people” affected by global trends and decisions made by the larger actors of the international system. I applied to Human Asia after learning about its human- centered approach, that focuses on educating, training, and supporting individuals to establish a human rights protection mechanism in Asia. Through the 2020 Project Internship, I hope to discover my role to play in meeting the challenges of human rights protection and contribute to the dream of an open Asia. Jeeeon Lee Hello, this is Jeeeon Lee. I will be working as an intern for Human Asia in 2020 summer. I was able to first work with Human Asia by participating in last year’s the 6th International Model United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR). By joining the I- model UN UPR, in which I could examine the human rights situations of UN member states and give recommendations, I was able to once again recognize the necessity to improve the human rights situations across the world. Therefore, I decided to work as an intern in Human Asia to gain the experience of working with human rights activists. Currently, due to COVID-19 crisis, there have been ongoing incidents in which human rights of individuals are being constantly threatened while the governments are taking hard responses to tackle the virus. Moreover, as we have learned from the recent George Floyd incident, racial discrimination still persists in our society. I believe in order to protect the human rights of every individual in our modern society, we need everyone’s constant effort and attention. By working as an intern in Human Asia, I would like to contribute myself to increasing human rights awareness by participating in various human rights advocacy activities and revealing human rights situations across the world.
[Social Minority Rights] As a member of "knowing human rights," Human Asia publishes articles of various social minorities who are subject to discrimination. This story of Bangladesh Jumma People is written by Supan Chakma, who is currently staying in South Korea as a refugee claimant. Hidden Bangladesh: Violence and Brutality in the Chittagong Hill Tracts When you think of Bangladesh you may think of a vibrant nation of teeming people in the Ganges delta. The Chittagong Hill Tracts are altogether different: impossibly green, forested mountains rise above lakes in a verdant, uncrowded land – a side of Bangladesh most people never see. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a small territory component with three hill districts known as Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban, located in the southeast corner of Bangladesh. 11 ethnic indigenous groups collectively known as Jumma people reside all over these three hill districts. They are namely, Bawn, Chak, Chakma, Khumi, Kyang, Lushai, Marma, Mro, Pangkhua, Tanchangya and Tripura as you see the same to my background banners. Jumma peoples are the ethnic and religious minority community of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. They are remarkably different from those of Bengali majority of Bangladesh in terms of ethnic, physical appearance, religion, culture and languages. [Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh] The root of the CHT’s crisis lies in the policies of the government of Bangladesh that seeks to establish homogeneous Bengali Muslim society. Over the last 50 years, hundreds and thousands of Bengali settlers have been moved onto these jummaland. A long conflict between the indigenous people and Bangladesh government has been followed causing huge numbers of deaths, destruction and suffering in the CHT. This situation is constantly jeopardizing the life, land, culture, security and development of the indigenous jumma people of CHT. This is hardly surprising: since March 2015, access to outsiders is tightly controlled and the indigenous people are forbidden to speak to foreigners without supervision. So what is happening in the CHT that the government doesn’t want the outside world to know about? 1. Status of Jumma Women in CHT: Violence, particularly sexual violence, is routinely carried out by settlers and the military alike. Jumma women have become the greatest casualty in the ethnic conflict of Bangladesh. They are the victim of systematical attack by the Bengali settlers and security personnel since the conflict started in the mid-1970s as deliberate tactic to destroy or damage Chakma nation. As we know, the Indigenous Women are targeted mainly for two reasons: for being women and for being indigenous. While the fact is about overall human rights in CHT needless to say, indigenous women rights are terribly violated over the period of time and still happening widely in broad day light. The figures make for sickening reading: in 2018 alone 117 indigenous women faced physical and sexual abuse, 57% of these being children. Twenty one of these women were raped or gang-raped and seven were killed afterwards. No wonder indigenous lawyer, Samari Chakma, calls the Chittagong Hill Tracts a “rapist’s heaven”. [An ethnic Jumma Community] 2. Encroachment on Land Right Land is continually being taken from the indigenous people without their consultation for plantations, tourist resorts and to settle people from other parts of Bangladesh. The army, mostly the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), continues to increase their land holdings, power and influence in the area and to increase their wealth. From the very beginning of the Pakistan regime, the encroachment on the land rights of Jumma people had been started and it has been continued by the successive governments till now. The governments have already acquired thousands of acres of land in the name of various development programs by evicting the indigenous people from their hearth and home without proper rehabilitation and adequate compensation. 3. Islamisation policy through transmigration of Bengali Settlers: History shows that the CHT region once a predominant non-Bengali Muslim area which is rapidly becoming a Bengali Muslim area by Islamisation policies of the governments. The influx of outsider Bengali Muslim settlers into the CHT region had been started since the creation of Pakistan. Bangladesh government’s vigorous Islamisation policies had made the situation worse than ever before. Currently, the Bengali populations within the Chittagong Hill Tracts have become the ethnic majority. [Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh] 4. Militarization: In order to suppress the Jumma people, the CHT has been heavily militarized. Indigenous demands for autonomy remain unheeded. And the Hill Tracts remain the most highly militarized region in Bangladesh. The Jumma people are still under military rule through the Operation Uttoron (Upliftment). Under this Operation Uttoron the army personnel can commit any kind of atrocity with impunity. In the recent past, they, in collaboration with the local administration and police and the Bengali Muslim settlers committed large-scale atrocities at Baghaihat, Babuchara, Chhotomerung and Ramgarh. The military authority continues to be final policy making and law enforcing authority in the CHT. So very often the military authority is charged with whipping up of communal violence against the Jumma people. 5. Non-stopping and Non-withdrawal of Bengali Muslim Settlers The Bangladesh government has settled hundreds of thousands of Bengali people in the Chittagong Hills, and they now make up the majority of the population in the region. Settlement has not been peaceful. Still the infiltration of the outsider Bengali Muslim settlers is continuing. The recent infiltration cases of Longadu, Dighinala, Barkal, Nakkyangchari, Lama, Alikadam, Mohalchari, Matiranga, Manikchari and many other places are glaring examples. So, the cases of illegal land grabbing by the settlers have recently come to a dangerous pass. In a number of violent clashes, tobacco, rubber and tea planters have seized Jumma (Indigenous) lands at will, usually with military support. By 2019, the situation had become so bad that indigenous people’s voice is never heard of; “We are now left with no land to farm and grow crops, or forest to go to for collecting fuel, wood, and fruit. Life has become very hard as we have [the] army at very close proximity and I feel very insecure even walking short distances.” Therefore, immediate stopping of new Bengali Muslim settlement as well as rehabilitation of all Bengali Muslim settlements outside CHT is a must. The Bengali Muslim settlers should be sent to their original homeland in the plains. 6. Non-recognition of the Entity of the Indigenous Jumma People in the Constitution. The indigenous peoples in Bangladesh are not even acknowledged in the Bangladesh constitution. All ruling government parties of Bangladesh have lacked sympathy towards the social and economic systems of the indigenous peoples, and this has been exacerbated by the disruptive policies of internal colonization. The state itself is liable for the destruction of indigenous communities within the country. The Bangladesh Government has yet no policy for the development of indigenous peoples. Neither does it recognize “Indigenous Peoples” as indigenous peoples. The main demand of indigenous peoples in the country is for constitutional recognition and the right to self-determination. Chittagong Hill Tracts is a region of the Chittagong Division in Bangladesh. We would also like you all to know that it is a common practice of the armed forces to criminalize of Indigenous peoples for protesting against governments and corporations in defense of their traditional lands aims to protect them from persecution, murder and imprisonment on falsified charges. It’s been observed and concluded that the issue of criminalization of Indigenous Peoples is an ongoing crisis. In 2018, human rights watchdog Global Witness reported that almost 1,000 environmental defenders have been killed since 2010 and that in 2017 at least 207 land and environmental activists – almost half of them Indigenous – were targeted and murdered for defending their forests, rivers, wildlife and homes against destructive industries. From November 18, 2017 to August 15, 2018, 78 people have been kidnapped and never been found. As such, the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh have been affected by what has been described as “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” for many years. Gross Human rights violations, racial attacks, land grabbing, demographic invasion by Bengali settlers are common practices in CHT. Bangladesh military with the settlers are responsible for all sorts of violence and unrest in Chittagong Hill Tracts. Hence, it is high time for Bangladesh to be held accountable for the brutal deeds being done by central forces, whose only focus is the power concentration of the dominant ethnic and religious group. Their apparent impunity is nothing then a government planned ethnic cleansing program. And the truth is our indigenous women are the targets of that procedure. On behalf of the indigenous Jumma people, my urge to the highly empowered leaders and Korean civil society is to assess the current situation of CHT in order to stop all these cruel human rights violations and mass killing, rape, kidnapping at a large scale. It is high time, the Bangladesh government must implement the promises it made in the 1997 peace accord, fully recognizing and protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to their traditional lands. It must respect its obligations under international human rights law and conduct thorough investigations into allegations of human rights violations, including the abduction of Kalpana Chakma. We are seeking help for international condemnation and awareness until spur actions are undertaken to protect our women. We believe by using universal languages of peace and solidarity our Jumma people will be able to grow freely in their own instinct someday. 2020.5. Supan Chakma. *Human Asia joined the Refugee Network since 2010 and has been conducting refugee human rights advocacy activities. Since 2011, Human Asia has been working with Gimpo Jumma People's Network in Korea (JPNK). in addition, since 2016, we have been conducting development cooperation project for Jumma refugees in India (Chakma).
Introducing the new Human Asia official website! Our new and improved platform aims to spread the light of human rights to more people, through updates on our human rights advocacy and human rights-based development activities. . . . The new homepage was created by Here&Now. Thank you once again to Here&Now’s hard-working managers, who helped us release our new website on May 12th. (Sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza)