Maria Chin re­ceives Korean hu­man rights award

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

KUALA LUMPUR: Ber­sih 2.0 chair­man Maria Chin Ab­dul­lah has been awarded the Gwangju Prize for Hu­man Rights by the South Korea May 18 Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion.

Maria was pre­vented from trav­el­ling to South Korea to re­ceive the award by the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment on May 15.

Dur­ing her ac­cep­tance speech at Vis­tana Ho­tel yes­ter­day, she thanked all those who sup­ported the fight for free and fair elec­tions, from dozens of NGOs to those who par­tic­i­pated in Ber­sih ral­lies.

She said they have per­se­vered de­spite the many chal­lenges the group faced, in­clud­ing be­ing tear gassed, sprayed with chem­i­cal-laced water and the lat­est, vi­o­lent Red Shirt counter-protests.

“I am very proud to say that Ber­sih sup­port­ers and those in our con­voys through­out the coun­try were peace­ful and did not fight back (when faced with vi­o­lence),” Maria said.

She also ac­knowl­edged crit­i­cism that Ber­sih 2.0 has not achieved its ob­jec­tives de­spite call­ing for its fourth rally, and the fifth Ber­sih rally slated for Nov 19.

Maria said the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion had so far only con­ceded in the use of in­deli­ble ink dur­ing the 13th gen­eral elec­tion, and even then the ink’s ef­fec­tive­ness was doubt­ful.

She said a pop­u­lar protest was un­think­able in the 80s but the past Ber­sih ral­lies drew many par­tic­i­pants.

The May 18 Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion was formed to hon­our the Gwangju Demo­cratic Up­ris­ing in South Korea in 1980. – by Lee Choon Fai

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