by Kelly Rogge
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Henry M. Louis Center for Global Transitional Justice, along with Gene and Karen Hernandez, recently played host to three international visitors sponsored by the State Department.
This is the first time that the Henry M. Louis Center has teamed up with the Hernandez family, which serves as host to this event regularly.
During the hospitality visit, Ewa Unoke, director of the Henry M. Louis Center, moderated a friendly discussion to share information on the visitors’ countries.
Tomomi Nishi from Japan spoke on the controversy over the U.S. military base at Okinawa. The debate over the military base has polarized the Japanese society. While some citizens want the base to remain open because it creates great employment opportunities for many Japanese citizens, an anti-American group argues that the base is an affront on the sovereignty of the state.
Jean Carlo Huaroc Portocarrero from Peru, a social justice advocate and lawyer, discussed the issues of democracy and transitional justice in Peru. After two decades of armed conflict in the country, it is beginning to consolidate its democratic experiment. After revisiting its past, Peru established a truth commission, national reparations plan and the trial of the former president, Alberto Fujimori. The most critical issue now concerns the slow implementation of the reparation plans to victims, such as health care, education and monetary compensation of the victims.
Melanie Chiponda from Zimbabwe, has led several peace protests to demand the rights of rural women under the constitution of Zimbabwe. She mobilized her fellow women activists to seek compensation when the Robert Mugabe-led government evicted the rural women from their land. When the government continued to arrest rural people for poaching on fish in the riverine area, Melanie organized the rural women to register and to obtain fishing permits for the rural people. Through her campaigns, the government has built new homes and relocated the displaced rural citizens.
Unoke said the three visitors had great learning experiences in the United States since they began their journey from Washington, D.C. He said they traveled to many other states in addition to Kansas including Texas and Missouri. The trip was organized by the Kansas City International Visitors Council.
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor for KCKCC.