International Human Rights Day Symposium For Students
Vancouver School Board of Education
December 10 -11, 2009
Thekla Lit is the President of BC ALPHA & Co-chair of Canada ALPHA,” Association
for Learning & Preserving the History of WW11 In Asia.”
Angela Brown is the Anti-Racism & Diversity Consultant, Vancouver Board of
Thekla and Angela had organized the two day symposium asking teachers form
different school districts who teach as part of their Social Studies curricula;
“Comfort Woman” & Violence against Woman in War & Peace. Canadian Hong
Kong veterans as POWs: Wounds and Closure. Dr. Josef Mengele’s & Dr. Shiro
Ishii’s Human Experimentations & Biochemical Warfare – Role & Ehics of Medical
Personnel and Scientists. Rescuers and Global Citizenship in the Rape of Nanking.
Forgotten Holocaust – Atrocious Human Rights Violation and It’s Impact on
victims Now and Then.
Graeme Stacey, a Champion in teaching the Hong Kong Veteran’s story has since
1996 pioneered the inclusion of the Canadian Hong Kong veteran’s material in
classrooms in B.C. He was invited by the BC Ministry of Education to become a
writing team member of the Teacher’s Guide, Human Rights in the Asia –Pacific
1931 – 1935: Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship” in which the lesson on
the Hong Kong Veterans is included. For many years Graeme has presented the
Hong Kong Veterans’ story at BC Provincial Studies workshops. Graeme was
shortlisted as a top 25 finalist this year for the Governor General’s Award for
Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Twice before he was also a top 25
finalist, the two years prior to 20003 and 2005 related directly to teaching the
Hong Kong Veteran’s story bringing in survivors, writing letters on their behalf,
creating displays, letters to the editor, etc. exposing the story. Graeme among
other teachers was asked to put on his presentation; he in turn invited Murray
Doull and me to put on our display. Unfortunately Murray was unable to attend
due to family health issues.
The two day symposium began at 08:00 with registration, 08:30 welcome by
Angela Brown and opening address by Thekla Lit, 08:45 Backgrounder of Human
Rights Violations and the Asia Pacific War. Professor John Price, History
Department of University of Victoria spoke of the Japanese Imperial Army giving
some insight in regards to the atrocities committed.
09:30 - Survivors’ Testimony – Miriam Van Veen and Marius Van Dijk Van Nooten.
Miriam in 1942 just before she turned two was put into many concentration
camps in Sumatra by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Marius Van Dijk Van Nooten grew up in the Dutch East Indies and was eleven
when he was put into many concentration camps by the Japanese Imperial Army.
10:40 – 12:10: Workshop Presentations.
13:00 – 14:30: Workshop Presentations.
14:30 - Satoko Norimatsu - Closing Plenary: Towards Peace & Reconciliation –
Endeavors of Human Right & Peace Activists In Japan
14:50 – 15: 00 – Angela Brown - Closing Remarks to the students.
Graeme’s presentation was very well put together for this symposium; Canadian
Hong Kong Veterans: Briefly in battle, Atrocities, POWs, Wounds and Closure. His
presentation included videos of Bob Clayton and Robert Manchester speaking of
the St. Stephens Hospital massacre and at the Stanley Cemetery taken from the
Valour and the Horror. With Graeme’s presentation he would stop for me to give
more detail into the formation of “C”Force, Sgt Major Osborn, Sgt Gander, St.
Stephens Hospital Massacre, British smutting the Canadian for losing the battle of
Hong Kong. Each presentation was a learning experience in how to improve for
the next presentation. The Next day we had the students and teachers view the
display asking question prior to and after the presentation. Dramatically, I used
an original Japanese bayonet and army officer’s sword when explaining the
atrocities barbarically committed on our soldiers.
This 1st International Human Rights Day Student Symposium was very successful
with over two hundred students still registered. Thelka stated that they are
looking at a three day symposium in the spring of this year in which we have been
This symposium was covered by the Chinese News papers and media, one English
news paper did attend.
Teachers & volunteers
Graeme Stacey & Lee
Naylor Thekla Lit & Lee
Satoko Norinatsu & Lee Naylor
class class with
display Graeme &
Lee & students
teacher HKVCA display