“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27)
From November 1 to 8, 2011, the WSCF AP HRJP Workshop and Human Rights Trainers Training was conducted at the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (PROK) Academy House in Seoul, Korea, hosted by the Korean Student Christian Federation (KSCF).
In general, the HRJP Trainers Training aims to mobilize Christian youth to work for human rights, justice and peace in Asia-Pacific countries by providing them the faith motivation, knowledge, skills and framework of analysis for human rights, justice and peace advocacy work.
In particular the Training for Trainer’s aims to:
The Trainers Training was attended by 15 participants coming from the SCMs, they were: Mr. Kazadi Mwamba Pierre Bliase, SCM Australia; Mr. Lin Si-Hao, SCM Taiwan; Mr. Tamang Ajit Kumar, SCM Nepal; Mr. Jimmi Tampubolon R. Panaturi SCM Indonesia; Mr. Tuntun Oo SCM Myanmar; Ms. Oeun SreyLiak, SCM Cambodia; Ms. Lam Hiu Fan, SCM Hong Kong; Ms. Dianne Asuelo SCM Philippines; Ms. Baida Liza Jinia SCM Bangladesh; Ms. Luhezu Aitis SCM India; Mr. Domingos Pinto SCM Timor Leste; Mr. Kumarathunga Yohan Asiri, SCM Sri Lanka and 3 students from SCM Korea. The participants were joined by the facilitators and members of the host committee.
The HRJP Workshop had 2 basic components, a conference on Militarism and Just Peace in Asia and the second was the Human Rights Trainers Training for the SCMs. The first two-days was devoted to learning about Militarism and Just Peace through theological reflections, lectures and exposure to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the border between North and South Korea. The second component was a Human Rights Trainers Training for students facilitated by KARAPATAN and WSCF Human Rights Committee members. The HR Training pre-tested the WSCF Human Rights Module for Students, which was a product of 5 Regional Human Rights Workshops which began in 2006. The Module is divided into 8 Lessons, namely: Definition and Concepts of Human Rights; History of Human Rights, Human Rights Instruments and Mechanisms, Regional Perspective and Key Human Rights Issues in the Region; Women’s Rights and Gender Issues; Human Rights Defenders; Skills for Human Rights Defenders, and lastly, SCM Human Rights Work.
In general, the HRJP Trainers Training aims to mobilize Christian youth to work for human rights, justice and peace in Asia-Pacific countries by providing them the faith motivation, knowledge, skills and framework of analysis for human rights, justice and peace advocacy work. In particular the Training for Trainer’s aims to: To raise awareness, understand the context and provide critical analysis on the impact of Militarism on the Human Rights situation in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region; Provide Biblico-theological foundation and understanding on ‘Just Peace’ as an on-going discourse among ecumenical bodies and churches; Strategizing for WSCF and SCM responses to the situations of Human Rights, Justice and Peace; Understand and learn the theoretical framework of Human Rights, its history, tools and mechanism from varied perspective (i.e. gender perspective, etc.); Using the WSCF AP Human Rights Manual, develop skills as Trainers for Human Rights and understand mechanisms to protect Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) at national and international levels; Acquire and develop skills as human rights and peace works from the SCMs, church groups, Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) and Peace Organizations (PO’s) in the Asia-Pacific region; Build and strengthen human rights desk in the SCMs.
The HRJP Workshop was two-fold, first it was a Conference to discuss and learn about Militarism and Just Peace and second, a Training for Trainers on the issues and tools for Human Rights work.
The Conference had an input presentation on the analysis of Militarism and Human Rights Situation in Asia-Pacific, with specific focus on Northeast Asia. This was presented by Rev. Jung Jin Suk from Hanshin University, who discussed the historical background of the divided Korean peninsula and situated this in the over-all geo-political situation of the Asia region. He said that military presence and militarism as an ideology is entrenched in the Korean society. He added that the Korean people on both sides continue to be victimized by the interest of the US and its allies, China and USSR. He added that, “the surge in violence, repression and instability in numerous countries around Asia in recent times has taken its toll on rule of law, democracy and the basic human rights of citizens. States are becoming increasingly militarized, utilizing force as a means of social control and punishment. There are many justifications spouted for the necessity of militarization: national security, armed conflict, economic growth or weak governing institutions. In actual fact, militarization causes further harm and instability to society, whether on political, economic or social levels. Violence begets violence; the use of force can never be a legitimate or effective way to govern and develop society. “
The Biblico-theological reflections were presented by Rev. Dr. Lee Sung Lim who strengthened the Faith dimension and spiritual formation of the participants on the concept of Just Peace. Dr. Lee gave a theological perspective on the Just War concept, its historical background and references to the biblical text. He also used as a standard and reference, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Call to Just Peace recently approved at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in August 2011, Jamaica. He adds that, “Just Peace is a journey into God’s purpose for humanity and all creation,” the people should participate and play a central role on the way to achieving Just Peace.
Following the inputs, the participants went to three exposure areas. The first exposure visit was to the victims of Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery during World War II called “Comfort Women,” the participants joined the Wednesday Protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The protest was led by the surviving victims (elderly women) together with their families and human rights activists. The second visit was the candle-light ecumenical liturgy led by the churches against the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in downtown Seoul.
The participants joined members of different churches and ecumenical groups in Korea in a peaceful protest to show the churches solidarity with the farmers and workers who were protesting against the signing of the Trade Agreement that will push the Korean farmers and workers in poverty. The final and most significant exposure was the participants visit to the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ located in the border North and South Korea. The DMZ is an area between North and South Korea where no military presence is allowed but is heavily militarized on both sides of the fence. The visit to DMZ was a meaningful encounter to the reality of militarization in Korea and the military culture within the communities.
The Trainers Training pilot-tested the WSCF AP Human Rights Module for the use of the students in the national movements or SCMs. The Module was divided into 8 Lessons, each with the same outline and format. The sessions were led by Mr. Romeo Clamor, acting General Secretary of KARAPATAN (a Human Rights organization in the Philippines), Leni Valeriano, WSCF AP Human Rights Coordinator and Necta Montes, WSCF AP Regional Secretary. The 8 Lessons were divided into 3 main sections. The first section on Human Rights, HR Concepts, History, Instruments and Mechanisms was led by Romeo Clamor. The sessions provided the conceptual framework on Human Rights, its historical background, the mechanisms and tools for human rights work and advocacy. It also brought greater emphasis in contextualizing these concepts and tools in situation of militarization at the national and international levels. Participants presented the Human Rights situation in their countries and share the existing mechanisms available in their countries for redress. Some of them shared their personal stories as victims of Human Rights violation and how they were able to overcome the situation. Romeo shared KARAPATAN’s experience and lessons learned in doing lobby work at the United Nation Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).
The second section was a training for SCMers as Human Rights Defenders (HRD). This was led by Necta Montes. Participants were trained as Human Rights Defenders (HRD) as they acquired skills in doing HR work and understand the meaning of being a Human Rights defender, the concepts and mechanism of HRD. A special section was also added on Human Rights advocacy skills for students and a session on Women’s Human Rights on CEDAW, as a particular focus of WSCF Human Rights work.
The third section was building SCM Human Rights Work at the national level led by Leni Valeriano. This was an important aspect of the Training, as it put into practice the skills and concepts by building and strengthening SCM HRJP work at the national level. Some SCMs have already developed programs and strategies for HR work, however some SCMs need to be assisted and trained in this area. This section was a workshop in organizing the HR program for the SCMers, and presentation of proposed activities and Human Rights campaigns plans.
The opening worship was led by the host, KSCF, with a reflection by Rev. Jun Sung Pyo on John 20:19-23 and the closing worship by the participants themselves. The daily morning prayers and Bible studies were led by the participants themselves preparing before they come to Korea. Participants from South Asia presented the Bible Study on Genesis 1:26-31, on being created equals in the image of God.
Southeast Asia led the Bible Study on Isaiah 11:6-9 and Luke 4:16-21 on the concept of Justice in the Bible and Northeast Asia participants on John 15:13 and Acts 2:43-47 on becoming followers of Christ and Human Rights Defenders. The Solidarity Night was meaningful as participants shared their talents and cultures from their respective countries through songs, dances, poems and a presentation of traditional snacks and food. The community life of the Workshop over-all was vibrant and participatory.