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.
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.
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.
The biggest open-air free music festival in Europe, Pol’and’Rock, also known as Polish Woodstock, took place from 1 to 4 August 2019. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association organized a series of anti-racism activities accompanying the festival.
The festival line up included internationally known performers who oppose racism and discrimination such as Gogol Bordello, Skunk Anansie, Ziggy Marley, and Prophets of Rage. The last band includes former members of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill.
The festival stand of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was the venue of a debate with Nay San Lwin, a human rights activist and representative of the persecuted minority of Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma). For years he has been drawing the attention of world public opinion to the genocidal practices used by the military dictatorship against the Rohingya, such as violence, hunger and forced evictions. The genocide in Myanmar has been documented by the United Nations. The other participants of the debates organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ included members of Opferperspektive (Victim’s Perspective), a German organization which helps the victims of hate crimes, as well as activists from Denmark, Moldova, and Belarus.
Poland’s Civil Rights Ombudsman Adam Bodnar also participated in a meeting organised by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association during the festival. Mr Bodnar spoke about the recent cases of homophobic violence in Poland. Furthermore, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association organized a football tournament promoting the message of ‘Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums’ among the festival participants. On 2 August, the group’s members played a match with the Ombudsman’s team led by Adam Bodnar himself.
During the festival days ‘NEVER AGAIN’ organized many other educational activities, including public discussions with numerous musicians involved in its ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign and an anti-fascist quiz with the ‘Naprzod’ (Forward) Foundation. The anti-racist educational activity during the festival was supported by Studio K2, the Fare network, and the Warsaw-based Rotary Club Goethe.
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.