SWEET TEA, BITTER LIFE

On the occasion of the Refugee Week 2020, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has launched a new video documentary on the plight of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar under the title ‘Sweet tea, bitter life’ (SEE VIDEO).

The Rohingya refugees are survivors of the ongoing genocidal campaign conducted by the Myanmar military. They have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority.

The languages of the documentary are Rohingya, Polish and English (with English and Polish subtitles) and it is available freely on the Association’s YouTube channel. It was shot several weeks ago, shortly before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, where approximately 1 million predominantly Muslim refugees from Myanmar are located.

According to the lead maker of the short documentary, Pawel Bolek, its aim was to show the human side of life in the refugee camp, which is largely unknown to the outside world. He says: – ‘The film shows that in our world everybody can suddenly, unexpectedly become a refugee’.

Previously, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ visited the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar in November 2019. During the visit representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Natalia Sineaeva and Rafal Pankowski met with refugees as well as medical personnel and civil society representatives.

Commemoration of genocide, empowering the victims of violence and the promotion of peace and non-discrimination will be among the subjects of a large-scale international event co-organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association member Natalia Sineaeva, the Global Cyber Peace Conference ‘Envisioning the World After the Great Pause’, held on 27 June.

The conference will last for 24 hours, starting from New Zealand through Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe, ending in the Americas/Caribbean. It will be an interactive online experience featuring speakers and attendees from around the globe. The conference is organized in cooperation with Rotary Peace Centres across the world, Mediators Beyond Borders International, and many other organisations. Almost forty sessions and workshops will be conducted across three conference zones: Asia/Oceania, Africa/Europe/Middle East, and the Americas/Caribbean. The conference themes include topics such as tackling identity-based violence, environment and peace, education and peace, and cultural resources for peace.

Natalia Sineaeva is the Europe regional coordinator for Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association and she is a member of the conference leadership team for Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

During the event a special panel under the heading Cultural Resources for Peace: Peace Project Incubator will be devoted to the question: how do museums and memory sites deal with ongoing atrocities and war? The speakers include the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s Natalia Sineaeva as well as Shahriar Kabir, a renowned writer, filmmaker and human rights activist, President of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh & Trial of the War Criminals of 1971; Kornelis Spaans, a member of the International Committee of Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes of the International Council of Museums (ICOM); Tali Nates, the founder and director of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and chair of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation; Naomi Kikoler, the director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Mofidul Hogue, director of the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Haider Elias, the President of Yazda – Global Yazidi Organization.

NEVER AGAIN’ Association members and friends are also going to speak in several other sessions of the conference, one of the largest of its kind in recent history.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

Global Cyber Peace Conference registration: http://rpfaa.org/global-cyber-peace-conference/

www.neveragainassociation.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

Sweet tea, bitter life’ documentary:

‘NEVER AGAIN’ WELCOMES ICJ RULING ON MYANMAR GENOCIDE AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has welcomed the International Court of Justice ruling on the case concerning genocide against the Rohingya minority committed in Myanmar (Burma).

The ICJ, based in The Hague (Netherlands), ruled on 23 January that Myanmar must protect the Rohingya population. The court ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya.

Co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski was present in The Hague on the day of the ruling. He said: – ‘We welcome the ICJ decision and hope justice for the Rohingya will be delivered. Myanmar’s greatness is to be found in her diversity and the Rohingya must be treated with respect, their rights as citizens must be fully restored, their suffering must be recognized and compensated. Symbolically, the ICJ ruling was announced just days before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27th January, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Genocide and genocide denial must not be ignored by the international community.’

The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority.

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Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had visited Myanmar in solidarity with the local human rights activists in August 2018. In November 2019, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski and Natalia Sineaeva visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar (Bangladesh). During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and civil society representatives.

Also on 23 January, in the run up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s representative Anna Tatar delivered a keynote speech at a conference on ‘The Rise of Hate Crimes and the Role of Youth in Countering Them’, co-organized with Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas university and the Youth for Peace student group under the heading ‘Varsovians against Violence’. Students coming from numerous countries and continents demonstrated their solidarity with the victims of hate crimes and hate speech in Poland and elsewhere.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ ACTIVE IN BANGLADESH

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association participated in the international conference ‘Genocide and Justice with a special focus on the Rohingya persecution’ held at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They also participated in meetings in other Bangladeshi cities.

The conference was opened by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A.K. Abdul Momen and attended by academics and activists from the countries of South Asia and beyond.

It took place on 16-18 November 2019. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics related to genocide and human rights.

In her speech during the concluding ceremony Natalia Sineaeva remembered the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. She stressed: – ‘It is our task, genocide scholars, museum workers, and human rights activists to apply the experience of the past atrocities to prevent future violence and to address contemporary examples of human rights violations.’ Natalia Sineaeva (who is a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni and IEP Peace Ambassador) was also a panelist during a conference session on ‘Ensuring Justice through Art Forms and Memorialisation’ where she presented several case studies of genocide museums and memory sites in Europe and Asia.

‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association co-founder and Collegium Civitas Professor Rafal Pankowski provided a presentation entitled: ‘The Holocaust in Poland and Genocide in Asia: Does the Tragic Past Bring Us Closer?’ Among other things, he highlighted the current ‘White Rose’ initiative of Buddhist Burmese youth in solidarity with the persecuted Muslims in Myanmar. It was apparently inspired by the anti-Nazi resistance group under the same name during the Third Reich.

Ven. Thirasattho Bhikkhu Lablu Barua, a Buddhist scholar and peace activist based in Thailand (a PhD candidate at the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and an IEP Peace Ambassador) who is a longtime friend of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association‎ also actively participated in the conference discussions. He emphasized the importance of intercultural understanding and awareness in addressing conflict and warned against the frequent manipulation of religion by extremist propaganda.

Moreover, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ partook in a number of meetings with Bangladeshi‎ intellectuals and community leaders discussing future cooperation. It included a meeting with Shahriar Kabir, the president of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 and general secretary of the South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism. The veteran writer, journalist and film maker reminisced how the knowledge about the Holocaust and World War II in Poland inspired him in his quest for justice for the victims of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.

The representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ also joined in an activity organized by Mohra Century Morning Friends – a unique project in the southern city of Chittagong bringing together members of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities of all ages through joint sports and music activities‎ in a region threatened by communal strife and conflict.

Importantly, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ visited one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in the region of Cox’s Bazaar‎ near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are survivors of the ongoing genocidal campaign conducted by the Myanmar military. They have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. Bangladesh accepted almost one million Rohingya refugees in the recent years. During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and workers of humanitarian organizations. They talked about the most pressing needs and challenges of life in the camp as well as ways to express solidarity.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

MYANMAR GENOCIDE IN FOCUS IN SEOUL

An international sports boycott of Myanmar was debated during a discussion led by a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in Seoul.

On 23-25 August 2019, ‎human rights activists from across the world gathered at the conference on ‘Protection of Rohingya Survivors and Accountability for Genocide’ held at the Sogang University, one of the leading universities of South Korea, established by the Jesuits. The opening keynote speech was delivered by Professor Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

Co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association Rafal Pankowski chaired the conference session ‎on ‘Travel, Culture and Governmental Relations’ which discussed the international campaigns to end genocide against the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority in Myanmar.

– ‘The newly announced initiative of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) to organize a future football World Cup in Southeast Asia is an interesting opportunity for the promotion of the region, but the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar make it currently next to impossible for the proposed bid to have any credibility from the human rights perspective’ – noted Rafal Pankowski. – ‘Football can be a positive tool for peace and intercultural understanding, but FIFA must not legitimize human rights abuses. The same applies to the idea of Myanmar as a co-host of the U-20 World Cup in 2021.’

The meeting was co-organized by Korean civil society groups together with the Free Rohingya Coalition, FORSEA (Forces of Renewal of South East Asia), EuroBurma Office and Human Rights Action Centre. It was attended by over one hundred participants, including a large group of Catholic nuns and ended with a joint Buddhist-Christian-Muslim demonstration outside of the Myanmar embassy in Seoul.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally. Among others, it implemented the UEFA Euro 2012 ‘Respect Diversity’ programme: major educational and awareness-raising activities that took place before and during the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine. It also cooperates with partners in Southeast Asia in the field of genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

THE MISSING PICTURE: RETHINKING GENOCIDE STUDIES AND PREVENTION

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association were honoured by the invitation to speak at the global congress of the International Association of Genocide Scholars held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The IAGS conference entitled ‘The Missing Picture: Rethinking Genocide Studies and Prevention’ gathered around 500 intellectuals, researchers, and civil society representatives from all over the world. It was held at the American University of Phnom Penh on 14-19 July 2019. A special meeting with the Oscar-nominated renowned Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh was a highlight of the conference programme.

During the conference, Natalia Sineaeva presented a paper on ‘Museums as Spaces for Dealing with Difficult Knowledge: Examples from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia’, Rafal Pankowski spoke on ‘Polish Entries at Tuol Sleng in 1979 and the Issues of Polish-Cambodian Genocide Analogies’. Nickey Diamond, a friend of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ from Myanmar, presented the subject of ‘Securitization of Islam in Myanmar: Security Discourse Analysis on the Mass Atrocities against Rohingya Muslims’.

After the conference, Natalia Sineaeva, Rafal Pankowski and Ali Al-Asani conducted two full-day workshops in Phnom Penh under the heading ‘An Introduction to the History of the Holocaust’. The well-attended workshops (in English and Khmer languages) were co-organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Cambodia and took place at the office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on 23 and 27 July. Around fifty participants included Cambodian human rights activists, academics and students. The themes of genocide, resistance and dealing with the past were discussed alongside the parallels and differences between the tragic chapters of European and Asian histories.

– ‘We want to share our knowledge, but our aim is also to learn from our Cambodian friends, from their unique perspective and experiences’ – said Natalia Sineaeva, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ member and International Rotary Peace Fellow 2018.

The activities in Cambodia illustrate the long-standing commitment of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to support genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue both in Europe and in the region of Southeast Asia. Future Polish-Cambodian meetings, publications and other activities are planned, also in cooperation with the Cambodian diaspora.

Other international events with the participation of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association members and supporters are scheduled to take place over the next weeks and months in Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ