Asian Culture Symposium 2005

Session 3. The Current State and Future Prospect of Asian NGO and Alliance 3-1. Identity and Alliance Presented by Basil Fernando (Executive Director of Asian Human Rights Commission) First of all, it is necessary to define the scope of Asia. Here Asia not only refers to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia but also includes countries like China, Japan and Korea. The damage caused by Tsunami has sparked the discussion on human's identity. Since "Asian Declaration of Human Rights " was adopted in Gwangju city in May, 1998, the problem of regional identity has born more significance. In particular, it is important to have right recognition of common culture and identity possessed by Asians. What we should be wary of is artificial identity, which has been practiced under the name of "nationalism" during the era of imperialism or colonial rule. The artificial identity threatens individual freedom and life and requires sacrifice of individuals. Now, we need to reestablish identity. In the West, identity has been created through experiencing wars and the identity through "conquest" like this should be given up. In many Asian nations, there are remaining cultural barriers hampering development of common identity. One such barrier is the psychological factor resulting from long practice of discrimination. In particular, the discrimination against women is prevalent in many Asian nations including Pakistan. Second barrier is class hierarchy like the caste system. Caste works as a huge obstacle in creating a common identity of a certain region. What is more familiar to us is the sense of discrimination toward ordinary people by the "elite". In order to create a common identity, it is first required to empower the general public. For this, the freedom of expression and association should be guaranteed. There could be conflicts between the public model of democracy and its practice in real life. But a common identity based on alliance and cooperation can be established through many fights and efforts. The case in point: Gwangju Democratic Movement in 1980. Creation of shared identity requires cooperation and alliance as the foundation for Asian's future. The core purpose in this process is improvement of citizens' status in order to guarantee their practical participation in the society. When ordinary citizens have stronger voice, it would be possible to establish common identity.

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Asian Culture Symposium 2005

3-2. Globalization and Human Rights in Asia Lecturer: Na, Hyowoo (President of Asia Center) The Asian Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1998 proclaims that basic human rights in various fields should be restored and enjoyed. However, despite many efforts by the global community and civic groups, the human rights situation in Asia has not much improved. Rather, the blind spot of human rights of workers, farmers, women and children have been expanded with launch of the WTO regime. The outcry of Gyeong-ae Lee, a Korean farmer representative, "WTO is killing farmers" is the voice of many poor workers and farmers. Developing countries including many Asian nations are suffering economic loss under the WTO regime. Trasnational capitals of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Asia Development Bank (ADB) are dominating economies of Asian developing countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. In case of Japan, some civic groups are monitoring the WTO regime. However, there is no such activities in Korea. As for China, there are no measures to tackle the problem of factory workers and the problem of the increasing urban poor arising from forced destruction of residences by the authority preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games. In particular, the catastrophic Tsunami that happened in last December in Southeast Asia has worsened the economic difficulties in the region. Because the pledges of support and aid have not been put into practice as planned or because reasonable aids have not been provided, the human rights conditions in the region is in its worst state. In this situation, I would like to propose two methods of the alliance of civil society for the purpose of respecting and restoring values of Asian culture. First, we should get rid of "imperialistic" practices deeply rooted in civil society movements and expand the notion of "us". For this, I propose a new term of "communitilization", which means a new community of civil society toward an Asian alliance of coexistence respecting each other. Second, I would like to suggest the Week of Asian Alliance for Peace. Since Asian countries are isolated from each other and there are too many different languages, it is not easy to form an alliance among them. however, these negative factors may work as advantages. Through movements participated by the general public, it would be able to develop common Asian agenda and action plans. It is necessary to designate "the Week of Asian Alliance for Peace" to establish an organizing committee for development of

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Asian Culture Symposium 2005

common agenda, share event programs among nations and thus promote active participation by citizens through the message of alliance.

3-3. Alliance and Prospect of Asian Peace Movements Lecturer: Lee, Gwangsu (Present of Asian Peace Human Rights Union, Professor of Indian Language Department, Pusan University of Foreign Studies) Panel: Utsumi Aiko (Professor, Humanities Department, Keisen University, Japan) In this session, Professor Gwangsu Lee presented on "The current state and future prospect of Asian peace movement and alliance" and secretary general Wonjae Lee presented on "Major challenges for sustainable alliance of Asian culture movements". Professor Lee first defined peace movements as constant and collective civil movements to stop war and to establish peaceful world order and raised the question of why peace movements are needed in the Asian region. He also stressed that citizens should become the major actor in anti-war movements in a situation where there are still many wars and conflicts in Asia and citizens are indiscriminately sacrificed in the modern war. Also, professor Lee pointed out that the peace movements in Asia started from the relief activities for displaced people after the Second War Ward and during major catastrophic accidents and that the peace movements in Asia has been facilitated by US president Bush's taking his second term in the presidency. Lee also viewed the current state and characteristics of Asian peace movements in the context of anti-war movement and development and relief. He stressed that allianced movements in areas of anti-war, anti-nuclear and relief activities are needed for Asian alliance of peace movement and that citizens and actors should lead the peace movements, warning against civil movements led by a few distinguished people.

3-4. Major Challenges for Sustainable Alliance of Asian Culture Movement Lecturer: Lee, Wonjae (Secretary General, Culture Action) Discussant: Park, Gangui (President of Shinmyeong),
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Asian Culture Symposium 2005

Chung Chiao (President of Chisa, Taiwan) Secreatary General Lee claimed that while "Asian" discourse" as symbol is being superfluous, popular and copied, "Asian" as the trace and method of the identity of our life lacks today, overcoming of which requires reconstruction of Asian culture movements. Lee also reviewed on basic limitations concerning Asian culture movements and mentioned about the culture movements that have been implemented in Asia and their limitations. Through this presentation, Lee argues that culture movements based on "ordinary life of Asian citizens" and "diversity of Asian cultures" should be pursued in order to reorganize Asian culture movements and sustain alliances. +Besides, he emphasized that we should seek creation of a civil society at Asian and global level and expansion of culture democracy, a practical foundation should be laid for alliance of Asian culture movement and the culture movements should be carried out as social movements going beyond national borders and boundaries of genre.

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