Promoting Cultures of Peace, Pluralism, and Justice
The Asia Regional Network brings together sites remembering both conflict and peace to promote values of ethnic and religious pluralism and democracy, especially among young people. Across Asia, fragile democracies are plagued by waves of violence and instability related to deep-rooted religious and ethnic tensions, which disrupt democratic processes and open the door for oppressive regimes that could take advantage of growing religious fundamentalism. Led by the Liberation War Museum, Asian Sites of Conscience open dialogue on human rights and democracy and inspire young people to become actively engaged in promoting those values. Read about the latest activities of this and other networks here.
Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam)
Contact: Youk Chang, Director
PO Box 1110
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: +855 (-23) 426 152
Fax: +855 (-23) 210 358
Since its inception, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) has been at the forefront of documenting the myriad crimes and atrocities of the Khmer Rouge era. DC-Cam has two main objectives. The first is to record and preserve the history of the Khmer Rouge regime for future generations. The second is to compile and organize information that can serve as potential evidence in a legal accounting for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
Gandhi Ashram Trust (GAT)
Contact: Raha Naba Kumar, Project Coordinator
P.O. Joyag Upazilla
Begumgonj, Noakhali, Bangladesh
GAT is a philanthropic development organization working in the district of Noakhali. Since 1946, it has worked to promote the Gandhian philosophy of rural development, peace and social harmony. GAT focuses its efforts on the rural poor, especially women, in the surrounding area of the Ashram.
The Institute of Social Development – Tea Plantation Workers Museum
The Institute of Social Development (ISD) created the Tea Plantation Workers Museum to enlighten the wider community about the lives of the tea plantation workers in Sri Lanka. ISD works for the rights of the tea plantation community, and the Museum’s mission is to protect and preserve the artifacts, traditional dance, drama, folklore, oral history and literature of the tea plantation workers. As well, ISD aims to promote ethnic and cultural harmony by highlighting the contributions of the plantation community to the economic development of the country. The museum itself is located in a historic site – a 100-year-old “line room,” a plantation worker dwelling.
The Iraq Memory Foundation (MF) seeks to place the Iraqi experience of suffering and oppression, between 1968 and 2003, in the global context of the history of pain and suffering. The MF seeks to do this by filming and archiving the individual stories of many thousands of survivors and witnesses of atrocity. The MF also seeks to digitize, index, and classify documents recovered from the outgoing regime that deal with Iraqi pain and suffering.
Jamalpur Gandhi Ashram, a historic site marked by a past of repeated resistance to its mission to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence and non-cooperation movement, represents Bangladesh’s long anti-colonial struggle in the 20th century. The Ashram is in the midst of a rebirth period, with help from local community members and the international community, to work toward the establishment of ideals of peace, non-violence, tolerance, equality and humanity. Highlights of the Ashram’s activities include establishing a Museum to commemorate the history of struggle in Bangladesh and to inspire younger generations with the ideals of equality and brotherhood and the spirit of the Liberation War era; direct services to community members including a library, a primary health care program, adult education, and self-reliance programs for women; community dialogues, seminars, and symposiums; and creative observance of International Non-Violence Day, Gandhi’s Assassination Day, Independence Day, Victory Day and other National days.
Kyoto Museum for World Peace
Contact: Junko Kanekiyo, Curator
56-1 Kita-machi, Toji-in, Kita-ku
Kyoto City, Japan
The Kyoto Museum for World Peace is dedicated to an honest and critical review of the history of World War II, Japan’s aggressive militarist past, the damage of the wars, and the efforts of people who opposed the war. The Museum promotes an understanding of the importance of establishing peace by conveying the tragic realities of war and illustrating the efforts of those who oppose war. The permanent exhibition contains materials from the Manchurian Incident in 1931 to the Iraq War. It also provides space for visitors to consider barriers to the full realization of human potential, such as forms of “structural violence”. The Museum offers youth programs, tours for teachers, symposiums, and lectures.
The Liberation War Museum was established in 1996 as an outcome of civic efforts to disseminate a non-partisan authentic history of the War of Independence. The Museum currently holds over 11,000 items in its collection, including rare photographs, documents, arms, ammunitions, and materials used by freedom fighters and martyrs of the Liberation War. The Museum is housed in a three story building in the heart of Dhaka city, where the Pakistani reign of terror began. It is a living museum where history is unfolded, leading visitors to realize how the fundamental principles of the 1972 Bangladesh Constitution of democracy, secularism, and nationalism evolved as basis for an independent Bangladesh. Liberation War Museum endeavors to link this history of popular struggle and sacrifices for democracy and national rights to contemporary events of human right abuses and fundamentalist tendencies.
The May 18th Memorial Foundation was established on August 30, 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, as well as relatives of the victims and Gwangju citizens. On May 17, 1980, martial law was declared by South Korean military leaders trying to quell a growing demand by the people for democratization. The military leadership, led by Major General Chun Doo-hwan, sent paratroopers to Gwangju – a particular center for the pro-democracy movement – who began beating and arresting demonstrators as well as innocent bystanders. It is estimated that around 200 people were killed. After the Gwangju Uprising, it took more than a decade before democratic rule returned to South Korea. The May 18th Memorial Foundation mission is to commemorate the uprising as well as continue the progress of democracy in South Korea.
Museum of Courage and Resistance
Contact: Marissa Romero-Paez, Museum Curator and Librarian
45 Saint Mary St.
Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines
The Museum of Courage and Resistance (also known as The Martial Law Museum) was founded by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines as part of the search for justice for the victims of the martial law regime. It was designed to serve as a constant reminder of all citizens’ obligation to practice sensitive and courageous vigilance, so that the atrocities and repression under martial law, in any of its forms, could never occur again. The Museum opened to the public on September 20, 1999, the eve of the 27th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Nonviolence International South East Asia (NISEA)
104/20 Latprao Soi 124
Wangtonglang, Bangkok, 10310, Thailand
Contact: Alfredo Ferrariz Lubang
Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA) was founded in 1989 with the intent to provide assistance to individuals, organizations and governments seeking nonviolent means to bring about social or political change. NISEA’s office was opened in January of 1992. NISEA endeavors to strengthen the ability of human society to use the power of nonviolence to bring about change which reflects truth, justice and the desire for human development at the personal, social, economic and political levels. NISEA works throughout the region to promote nonviolent action and reduce the use of violence.
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
Contacts: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director; Mr. Afshan Ahmed, Research Coordinator
20, Hill Road, F-6/3
Postal Code: 44000
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
The site is a former high school used as the Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. An estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng; out of this number, there are only 12 known survivors. The buildings at Tuol Sleng are preserved as they were left when the Khmer Rouge were driven out. The regime kept extensive records, including thousands of photographs. Several rooms of the museum are lined, floor to ceiling, with black and white photographs of some of the prisoners who passed through the prison. The museum is open to the public and visited by many Cambodian school children.
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