“The new era of leadership towards human rights starts with an Afro-Asian collaboration!”

PARIS, 24 February 2023// —

The global launch of the Breaking Silence Movement, a.k.a. The BSM Global Association was held in the Mayor’s City Hall at the 12th arrondissement in Paris where the BSM HQ is domiciled. This event aims to inaugurate the first members of the Board and the organization’s global projects to reach a measurable impact through intersectoral programs.

The event was hosted by Dee Apilado, and was graced by H.E. Philippine Ambassador Junever Mahilum-West, H.E. Maltese Ambassador Carlos Inguanez, the Swiss Embassy Human Rights and Equality Section representative Ms. Anaïs Pochon, Ville de Paris representatives – Mr. Philippe Schotte and Madame Safiatou Barry, and of course, warmest welcome from the Mayor of the 12th arrondissement of Paris, Ms. Emmanuelle Pierre-Marie.

The day also sparked a new era of leadership towards human rights through an African-Asian collaboration like never before. Ndaba Mandela (Chairman of Mandela Institute for Humanity, President of Africa Rising Foundation, and the grandson of the great Nelson Mandela) forges a powerful partnership with BSM Global Association through the BSM Pillars of Impact alongside the strong support of the exceptional and intercultural members of the BSM Board: Demee Koch, Mariella Camilleri, and Donna Künzler who vigorously discussed the importance of GBV Programming or the BSM Pillars of Impact through intersectoral strategies following the prevent-mitigate-respond framework.

The BSM Board Oath taking led by Ndaba Mandela

The oath-taking led by Mandela strengthened the solidarity of the BSM Board members to fight for Women’s Rights. Each member also vigorously expressed their commitment to the advocacy of gender-based violence (GBV) and their contributions to the organization’s projects.

Mandela expressed his thoughts on leadership and its true meaning–of serving others and working for people for everyone’s benefit. Most importantly, he spoke of the importance of the allyship of men for uplifting women’s rights and reducing gender inequalities.

Mandela: “My grandfather defied the barriers of race in South Africa when he became president. His legacy still echoes strongly today. But there is still so much more to do. So, I ask you, will you be a leader to empower those who are silenced? Will you be a leader to give a voice to those discriminated against because of their skin color, the shape of their eyes, or gender? Will you be a leader to champion human rights?”

BSM being founded by a Filipino immigrant in France, had a moving confession about being a GBV survivor (rape incest) herself that started when she was 9 years old.The abuse was continued until she she was 22 years old. Her story brought guests to tears while leaving her long-time friend, Mandela, in complete shock. Her speech ended with a standing ovation and a wonderful, empowering embrace with Mandela – signifying the strong friendship that would bring human rights to another degree.

BSM is proclaimed to be for the society to acknowledge the truth of violence, especially those who are in denial of violence and remain apathetic in responding to gender-based violence and upholding women’s rights.

BSM: “Many are still in denial of the truth – the hard truth that gender-based violence is a global crisis that hinders progress…the challenge I give to you today is to hear the violent truth… there are geopolitical tensions and crises happening every single day and sometimes we say that we are so privileged that we are living in Europe – in “developed” countries – but that does not exempt us from doing something about it.”

Finally, the event ended with the official announcement of the upcoming celebration of Mandela Day in Paris this year at the Emile Antoine stadium in the 15th arrondissement which will be headed by the BSM and the Mandela Institute for Humanity, in collaboration with Ville de Paris. The event is the commemoration of the 10th death anniversary of Nelson Mandela – reigniting the deep commitment to justice, human rights, and fundamental freedoms that heavily echoes the Nobel Prize winner’s legacy.

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