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Action Reconciliation Service for Peace 2016-2017Fort van Breendonk, a "Human Rights Memorial"
Start date: 01 Aug 2016, End date: 31 Dec 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

ASF België/Belgique campaigns for peace, mutual understanding and human rights, as well as an intercultural dialogue. It also aims to fight antisemitism, racism and discrimination of minorities. We try to realize these objectives through our participation in an international "Peace Service" program. Our voluntary services are known as "Peace Services" because, in co-operation with our partners, volunteers develop their understanding of history and other cultures and societies, whilst experiencing and getting to know different patterns of thought and behaviour.ASF België/Belgique is the Belgian section of the internationally active German organization "Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste" (ASF). Every year around 130 volunteers, mostly aged between eighteen and thirty years, engage themeselves with Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste in thirteen different countries in a variety of educational, historical, political and social projects. ASF België/Belgique accompanies each year about fourteen ASF-volunteers coming from Germany during a 12-month voluntary service in Belgium. One of them will work as a volunteer at Nationaal Gedenkteken van het Fort van Breendonk in Willebroek. During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II this military fortification was used as a Nazi prison camp for Belgian political dissidents, captured resistance members and Jews. The volunteer will support the staff of the memorial in the field of museum education.Although the history of the Fort van Breendonk during the Second World War hardly gives cause for optimism, Nationaal Gedenkteken van het Fort van Breendonk wants to put across a message of hope, like those men and women who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To defend and respect these rights is one of the goals of the memorial. Therefore, Nationaal Gedenkteken van het Fort van Breendonk defines itself as a "Human Rights Memorial".ASF België/Belgique guarantees a perpetual training of its volunteers by organizing several seminars during the voluntary service. During these seminars we reflect, among others, on how the Second World War and other traumatic historical events have influenced collective memory and how this influences our societies today. We hope that our volunteer, by learning about the past, will be encouraged to stand up for democratic values and get involved in society. We believe that knowledge about the past is essential for commitment to a sustainable peace in Europe.Through the "Peace Service" of our volunteer at Nationaal Gedenkteken van het Fort van Breendonk we hope to enhance an intercultural dialogue within the European Union and foster the volunteer's awareness of the need to respect human rights.
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