The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) was founded by pro-democracy activists involved in Burma's 1988 student uprising and its current base of activists, Mon community and youth leaders continue to fight for this goal today.
Its main aim is to bring about the restoration of democracy, human rights protections and genuine peace in Burma. HURFOM has six main projects:
- Human rights documentation and dissemination project;
- Human rights data management and advocacy project;
- Human rights and civic education project;
- Human rights defenders and community participation project;
- Civil society development project;
- Mon media project; and
- Women and children's rights project.
These six main projects are explored in more detail below:
Human rights documentation and dissemination project
HURFOM human rights field workers collect information on human rights violations in urban and rural areas in Mon State, Karen State and Tenasserim Division. This includes documenting facts and taking photos of the locations where human rights abuses have been committed, as well as consulting with community leaders and victims.
The project has several main activities:
- Monthly production of ‘The Mon Forum’ publication
- Human rights documentation awareness workshop/training
- Production of special reports
Human rights data management and advocacy project
HURFOM sees a direct relation between human rights data management and advocacy towards the international community. HURFOM believes that although it is involved in some advocacy activities and collaborative campaigns with other organisations it still needs to conduct systematic data management to remain effective in its advocacy activities.
The main activities of the project include:
- Human rights bulletin system
- Human rights database and communication flow technical skills
- Video documentary
- Advocacy tools production
Human rights and civic education project
This project aims to educate Mon communities about concepts of human rights and general knowledge on democracy, peacebuilding, ethnic rights and federalism, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international principles.
It hopes to introduce the grassroots Mon population to the ideals behind the struggle for democracy and the important role played by the international community. Another key objective is to raise awareness of community health, education, environment, development and other related issues, encouraging the Mon people to actively participate in developing themselves and their community.
The main activities of the project include:
- Printing a quarterly Mon-language journal ‘Khit Poey’
- Publishing educational books, such as the Democracy Book, Federal Book, Human Rights Hand Book and Human Rights Defenders Book;
- Capacity building, including providing human rights training, human rights defenders training, federal studying training, as well as the training of trainers in all these areas.
Human rights defenders and community participation project
The project seeks to strengthen community participation and coordination to defend against human rights violations by non-violent means. This includes learning about governmental regulations, the legal system, law and order and the rest of the human rights framework in Myanmar.
The project also seeks to introduce community and civil society leaders to techniques they can employ to defend human rights violations in their own communities. This project is designed to empower these leaders by giving them the tools to help end local violations. Additionally, the project seeks to encourage communities to become actively involved in practical activities and movements related to human rights protection.
The project has several key activities, including:
- Supporting information about laws, human rights and human rights defending techniques (to the community members).
- Creating media contacts and networks among the communities.
- Organising workshops and seminars, such as the Mon Community Based Organisations Seminar – Networking for Community Empowerment.
Civil society development project
This project hopes to build the capacities of Mon civil society organisations. The project is designed to create networks among the different communities and civil society groups and thereby enable them to share information, knowledge, techniques and experiences of how they have been involved in empowering themselves at the community level.
The Civil Society Development Projects’ key activities include:
- Programme & organisation management school for activists from Mon community-based-organisations.
- English upgrading class for improving English language skills of university students, women, and activists.
- Management workshop for people involved in community development. This includes community leaders, religious and social activists and others who can contribute to learning about organisational management, strategic planning, networking, cooperation and advocacy. This includes alumni meetings for graduates.
Mon media project
The project hopes to challenge government restrictions on freedom of expression and assist in information sharing by disseminating news of events and incidents.
For the Mon this means they receive coverage of news which relates to them and is in their language whilst also sharing their stories with other parts and groups in Burma, and vice versa.
It introduces and informs Mon populations on the domestic and international struggle for democratisation in Burma and the push for peace and national reconciliation. Its activities seek to encourage Mon people to exercise their voice and inform themselves and the world about their situation.
Project activities include the monthly publication of Mon- and Burmese-language newspaper ‘The Guiding Star’ and training reporters.
Women and children's rights project
This project seeks to monitor the situation for women and children in Mon areas and southern Burma in reference to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
This aim of this project is to collect information and data and distribute the findings to the HURFOM international network.
It also seeks to empower and educate women and children in the Mon community by providing information on their rights according to CEDAW and CRC and encouraging them to participate in the struggle for the protection of their own rights.
Activities under the project include:
- Printing a quarterly English-language newsletter ‘The Plight’.
- Printing a bi-annual Mon and Burmese-language journal ‘Our Right Journal’.
- Capacity Building, providing women’s rights training, childrens rights training, and training of trainers in both these areas.
- Women’s internship programme.
- Data collection on topics such as trafficking of women and children, violence against women and child soldiers.