It is a hub of intercultural activities, hosting a range of educational, performing arts and environment-based programmes throughout the year.
Gloucestershire’s Dean Academy asked if they might name one of their three colleges after Zerbanoo, so there is now a Gifford college.
She writes that Adrian, Mark and Sandy went to Brussels in May 13, to collect a European award for Asha’s 2011 Youth Exchange ‘Acting it Out’. This project involved orphans and young disadvantaged people from Armenia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and the UK. It was chosen by the British Council as the UK’s most outstanding project in the past seven years of the EU’s Youth in Action programme.
The death of Nelson Mandela brought back memories for Zerbanoo who remembers speaking alongside Neil Kinnock at a rally at Trafalgar Square, in June 1985, calling for sanctions on apartheid South Africa and presenting a petition to No 10, with Trevor Huddleston.
ASHA now works with the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre in Johannesburg. Together, they have created an exchange programme, through which young South Africans from the townships have visited ASHA and devised theatre productions which have toured the UK as well as being performed in South Africa.
Continuing their Chagos story
Background: for many years, since meeting exiled Chagos islanders when she and her husband Richard were on holiday in Mauritius, Richard has given his services as a solicitor in the long struggle to enable those who wish to do so to return to Diego Garcia.
In December 2012, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the islanders bid to return was inadmissible, William Hague announced a review of UK policy towards resettlement of the islands. In June 2013, the High Court dismissed Olivier Bancoult’s challenge to the marine protected area and did this by ruling the Wikileaks cables – which revealed the intention to exclude Chagossians from their homeland – inadmissible. During that case, access to the file on the infamous 2002 feasibility study, which had been deployed to abolish the right of abode in Chagos, was obtained.
However in July the British government announced a new feasibility study into resettling the islanders. So now the issue is to secure a truly objective study and make a decision before 2015. In October, Richard and Zerbanoo flew to Mauritius to attend the 30th anniversary of the Chagos Refugees Group.
Richard’s address described how the attacks of 11th September 2001 set FCO policy back several years and led to the disreputable feasibility study, in parallel with the dodgy dossier on WMD and the discredited advice from the Attorney General on the legality of the war in Iraq. These all appeared within weeks of each other, no doubt influenced by FCO’s perceptions of the value of the US base at Diego Garcia as a military asset.
But while the Government is willing to contemplate resettlement, nothing has been decided and legal moves cannot be dropped; The Court of Appeal rejected the challenge to the ruling on the Marine Protected Area in March 2014. Richard is even working on a plan to set aside the House of Lords’ decision of 2008, which was procured by chicanery (involving ‘lost’ documents), now revealed by FCO papers recently obtained. More from the New Zealand press here.
A practical guide for peace education
The Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme: This manual is the outcome of a two-year Learning Partnership with the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission – implemented jointly by civil society organisations from Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom – ASHA Centre. The manual aims to provide a practical guide for peace education.
Ongoing event: Discovering Interfaith Dialogue: Eastern Religions 26th August – 3rd September 2014: participating Countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, United Kingdom: the ASHA Centre’s first ERASMUS+ Training Course will bring together 32 youth leaders and youth workers from the EU.