World Apology for Equal Dignity (WApologyED)

 

Floyd Webster Rudmin, Director and Coordinator


HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world.

Several years ago Floyd Webster Rudmin had the idea to launch "The Apologies Project." He wrote (Tromsø, Norway, March 2005): The idea was for non-state groups (e.g., local or national peace organizations, churches, sub-national governments such as town, city, or county, school classes, from primary schools to gymnasia to universities) to apologize for an historic abuse. This would entail researching an event in which their national or ethnic group did some harm to another identifiable group, then conceiving of a way to express apology for that event, and then publicizing that this research and apology have been done.

The events in Italy now, are very much a matter of humiliation. The Italians feel humiliated, that the Americans killed their hero, and then was dismissive of the event. One US officer of rank said something to the effect, that the Italian public and media should just calm down and take an aspirin, and in the morning they won't feel so bad about their journalist and negotiator being shot. Thus the US follow-up actions are turning out to be as damaging, or more damaging, than the original event. This might bring down the Italian government.


 

 

The work by Aaron Lazare

On Apology
by Aaron Lazare
Hardback, 320 pages, September 2004
The text you see here has been retrieved from the Publisher Website, Oxford University Press

Description
One of the most profound interactions that can occur between people, apologies have the power to heal humiliations, free the mind from deep-seated guilt, remove the desire for vengeance, and ultimately restore broken relationships. In On Apology, Aaron Lazare offers an eye-opening analysis of this vital interaction, illuminating an often hidden corner of the human heart. Why do people apologize? Why is it so difficult to apologize? Why do some apologies heal while others fail--and even offend? Is it ever too late to apologize? Is the ability to apologize a sign of strength or weakness? In what ways are public apologies different from private ones? What is the relationship of apology to forgiveness? Lazare answers all these questions in this fascinating volume. Indeed, the author offers a wide-ranging dissection of the apology. He discusses the importance of shame, guilt, and humiliation, the timelessness of emotional pain, the initial reluctance to apologize, the simplicity of the act of apologizing, the spontaneous generosity and forgiveness on the part of the offended, the transfer of power and respect between two parties, and much more. Throughout, the author looks not only at individuals but also at groups and nations--for instance, Abraham Lincoln's apology for slavery, the German government's apology to the victims of World War II, and the U.S. government's apology to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. Readers will thus find not only a wealth of insight that they can apply to their own lives, but also a deeper understanding of national and international conflicts and how we might resolve them. Everyone has the opportunity to apologize now and then. On Apology opens a window onto this common occurrence to reveal the feelings and actions at the heart of this profound interaction. Reviews
"This jewel of a book reveals the many facets of the seemingly simple act of apology.... Drawing on a vast array of literary and real-life examples, from Agamemnon to George Patton to Arnold Schwarzenegger, from the current pope to the machinist who approached him after a lecture, Lazare lucidly dissects the process of apology.... Everybody on earth could benefit from this small but essential book."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"At a time in our history when there seems to be so much to apologize for--Lazare's book is a wise reminder of how much depends on the sincerity and openheartedness with which we acknowledge that a wrong has been done and begin to work together toward forgiveness."--Francine Prose, Oprah Magazine

"Lazare, a gifted psychiatrist, distinguishes between genuine apologies and statements of sympathy ('I'm sorry for your loss') and pseudo-apologies of the kind often favored by politicians ('I'm sorry if you were offended by anything that was said').... The strength of this book rests in the stories of apologies that Lazare has collected from people, politics, literature and history."--Washington Post Book World

"Traces the history of the world's most humbling act, exploring everything from Lincoln's apology for slavery to Arnold Schwarzenegger's mea culpa after allegations of breast-groping."--Wall Street Journal

"This unique book is sure to set a reader thinking on many levels, but its ultimate message is the meaning and the magically transformative power of what would seem on the surface to be a simple apology. No one who becomes familiar with Dr. Lazare's perceptive interpretations will forget his sensitivity and wisdom."--Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, author of Lost in America and How We Die

"The culmination of the prestigious career of a man who has dedicated his entire professional life to improving relations between people."--The Forward

"Moving, enlightening, and potentially profoundly healing, On Apology is a timely gift for our era. Aaron Lazare sheds light on one of the most basic of human interactions, and on why people, and even nations, can feel so bad and then so good, on both sides of a true apology. His skillful storytelling and analysis touchingly reveal our common humanity, how we might nurture it, and how it is also sometimes ignored or betrayed. You may find yourself more than once in tears of empathy and uplift."--Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to Our Senses

"A splendid treatment of a fascinating set of topics that touch all of our lives."--Sissela Bok, PhD, author of Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation

"Intimacy is healing, and apology is a powerful doorway to intimacy and healing. This is the most important book ever written on the value of apology. Highly recommended." --Dean Ornish, MD, author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love and Survival

About the Author
Aaron Lazare, M.D., is Chancellor and Dean, and Professor of Psychiatry, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester, Massachusetts and Senior Psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was formerly Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is a leading authority on the psychology of shame and humiliation, and wrote a highly regarded article on apology in Psychology Today that led to appearances on "Oprah," "Talk of the Nation," and many other TV and radio shows.


 

 

Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on delicious.com. From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

An Apology for the Rwandan Genocide, 20 Years Later
April 17, 2014
The New Zealand diplomat who was president of the Security Council in April 1994 admits the U.N. "utterly failed" to prevent the slaughter of up to one million people in Rwanda. He was speaking at a council meeting held to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide. Read more here.

Bill Clinton: We Could Have Saved 300,000 Lives in Rwanda
Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton admitted that if the U.S. had gone into Rwanda sooner following the start of the 1994 genocide, at least a third or roughly 300,000 lives could have been saved. Read more here.

Rwanda Genocide "Must Leave Us Always with a Sense of Bitter Regret and Abiding Sorrow",
says UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the New York Memorial Conference.
Press Release, 26th March 2004. Read more here.

Secretary-Genera Kofi Annanl, in 'Mission Of Healing' to Rwanda, Pledges Support of United Nations for Country's Search for Peace and Progress
Press Release, 6th May 1998. Read more here.

Clinton Apology
Thanks to the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org), a nonprofit organization that uses the Freedom of Information Act to secure the release of classified U.S. documents, this account also draws on hundreds of pages of newly available government records. This material provides a clearer picture than was previously possible of the interplay among people, motives, and events. It reveals that the U.S. government knew enough about the genocide early on to save lives, but passed up countless opportunities to intervene.
In March of 1998, on a visit to Rwanda, President Clinton issued what would later be known as the "Clinton apology," which was actually a carefully hedged acknowledgment. He spoke to the crowd assembled on the tarmac at Kigali Airport: "We come here today partly in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred" in Rwanda. Read more here.

"Comfort Women": Japan Has Apologized and Expressed Its Remorse, December 28, 2015
South Korea and Japan reached a landmark agreement on Monday to resolve the issue of "comfort women", as those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels were euphemistically known, which has long plagued ties between the neighbors. The foreign ministers of the two countries said after a meeting in Seoul that the "comfort women" issue would be "finally and irreversibly resolved" if all conditions were met. South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to take the opportunity to boost bilateral ties soon after the agreement by the foreign ministers. The accord will be welcomed by the United States, which has been keen for improved relations between its two major Asian allies in the face of an increasingly assertive China and an unpredictable North Korea. Strains between Tokyo and Seoul have prevented the two countries from signing an agreement to share sensitive military information, so a year ago they signed a three-way pact under which Seoul routes its information to the United States which then passes it on to Japan, and vice versa. Park "hoped that since the two governments worked through a difficult process to reach this agreement, they can cooperate closely to start building trust and open a new relationship," her office quoted her as saying to Abe. Abe told reporters in Tokyo that Japan has apologized and expressed its remorse, but added future Japanese generations should not have to keep on doing so. "We should never allow this problem to drag on into the next generation," he said, echoing remarks he made marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on August 15. " From now on, Japan and South Korea will enter a new era." Japan was "painfully aware of its responsibilities" for the affront to the women's honor and dignity, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference in Seoul with his South Korean counterpart.
We thank Mark Singer for making us aware of this agreement.

PKK entschuldigt sich bei Deutschland, 09. April 2015
"Ich möchte mich im Namen der PKK beim deutschen Volk entschuldigen. So etwas wird nie wieder passieren." Das sagte der operative Führer der in Deutschland verbotenen kurdischen Arbeiterpartei PKK, Cemil Bayik, in einem Interview gegenüber WDR und NDR. Seine Organisation strebe in den langjährigen Auseinandersetzungen mit der Türkei inzwischen keinen eigenen Staat mehr, sondern eine politische Lösung an.

Herero Massacre: General's Descendants Apologize for 'Germany's First Genocide'
The family of a German colonial-era commander who ordered a massacre of Namibia's Herero tribe in 1904 has travelled to Namibia to apologize for what historians call Germany's first genocide. Some 65,000 Hereros were killed, but their descendants have scant hope of compensation...
Read more at http://www.spiegel.de/.

I Apologise for Apartheid, by Ronèe Robinson
Ag hemel – wat op aarde het FW besiel? (What on earth got into FW?) Does he really believe that apartheid merely failed because black people did not want to live with separate development? What about all the injustices that were perpetrated under apartheid? Apartheid was not merely about a dream (or nightmare) of separate development. It was about a small group of people allocating the land of milk and honey to themselves and trying to evict those born in that very land to far-flung corners that no one would want to live in or could survive in. It was about the use of hideously repressive measures to achieve this fantasy....
Read more at www.thoughtleader.co.za/.

New Apology in El Salvador
"I stand before the El Salvadorian people and the world to take responsibility for that which that my ancestors would not or did not take and with that attitude denied justice to those who still mourn their dead."
- The President of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes gave a new apology in the name of the State for the massacre of 1000 farmers, 450 of them children, committed by the army in 1981 in El Mozote and the surrounding villages 200 kilometres northeast of the country's capital.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Expresses Regret Over Norway’s Involvement in Arresting and Deporting Jews during the Second World War
Published on Friday, 27th January, 2012, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has expressed regret over Norway’s involvement in arresting and deporting Jews during the Second World War. "It was Norwegians who carried out the arrests and who drove the trucks," says PM StoltenbergJens Stoltenberg, Holocaust Day 2012 speech Photo: Office of the Prime Minister “Without relieving the Nazis of their responsibility, it is time to for us to acknowledge that Norwegian policemen and other Norwegians took part in the arrest and deportation of Jews.” Complicit “Today I feel it is fitting for me to express our deepest apologies that this could happen on Norwegian soil,” he said at today’s UN International Holocaust Rememberance Day ceremony at Oslo’s Akershus Quayside... To read Prime Minister Stoltenberg’s complete speech, click here or here.

Japan PM apologises for US bases in Okinawa
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has apologised to people in Okinawa for "the burden" of US bases on the island. Mr Kan was on his official first visit to Okinawa to mark 65 years since the end of a bloody World War II battle...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10388407.stm.

UK PM David Cameron Says Sorry over Bloody Sunday
The Bloody Sunday killings were unjustified and unjustifiable, the Prime Minster has said, announcing the findings of the Saville Report...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/10320609.stm.

Statements of Apology from NZRU, SARU
... We apologise to the families of those players and to the wider Maori community who were affected directly or indirectly by the decisions taken to not include Maori players for those teams and tours. It was a period in which the respect of New Zealand Maori rugby was not upheld and that is deeply regretted...
Please see more at http://www.voxy.co.nz/sport/statements-apology-nzru-saru/5/48556.

Serbia Offers Srebrenica Apology
Serbia's parliament has passed a landmark resolution apologising for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre - Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. The motion, approved by a narrow majority, says Serbia should have done more to prevent the tragedy. It stopped short of calling the Bosnian war killings a genocide. The murder of nearly 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) was carried out by Bosnian Serb forces - allies of then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. The massacre, in what was supposed to have been a UN safe haven, became a symbol for the atrocities of the Balkan wars. Meanwhile, a Dutch court has rejected an attempt to hold the United Nations responsible for the killings...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8594625.stm.

Brady Ashamed of Abuse 'Failings'
The head of Ireland's Catholics has apologised for his role in mishandling the case of a serial child abuser. As a priest in 1975 Cardinal Sean Brady was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth. He said he wanted to apologise to "all those who feel I have let them down". Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI has announced that on Friday he will sign his long awaited pastoral letter dealing with paedophilia in Ireland. He said in recent months the church in Ireland had been "rocked by the crisis of abuse of minors" and hoped his letter would "help repentance, healing and renewal"...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8572081.stm.

Apology for Women Raped by Father
Two daughters made pregnant 18 times over a 25-year period by their father have received an apology from the agencies who failed to protect them. The apology was made at a news conference that revealed the findings of a serious case review. The Sheffield man, who cannot be named, was given a life sentence after admitting 25 counts of rape in 2008. The review found missed opportunities and collective failures to protect the children over three decades. It was carried out by safeguarding children boards in Sheffield and Lincolnshire and acknowledged the family had contact with 28 different agencies and 100 members of staff over 35 years, including police, doctors, nurses and social workers. “ We are genuinely sorry. We should have protected you ” Chris Cook, Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Sue Fiennes, independent chair of Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board, said: "We want to apologise to the family at the heart of this case. It will be clear that we have failed this family." Chris Cook, independent chair of Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: "We are genuinely sorry. We should have protected you." He added: "We must remember that people's lives were devastated both by a controlling, power-obsessed and deviant father and our failure to act." The serious case review showed the family moved 67 times so the father could avoid detection. Professor Pat Cantrill, independent report author of the serious case review, said opportunities "were missed individually and collectively". "The inquiries that were identified should have resulted in the children being taken to a place of safety but that did not occur." Ms Cantrill said authorities had difficulties dealing with issues arising from this case. "For some professionals, I honestly believe they got quite stuck around this situation. They didn't know how to handle it." The report divided the family's experiences into three time segments - two in Sheffield and one in Lincolnshire - between 1975 and 2008. It revealed schools, hospitals and ambulance staff all raised concerns about the family. On 23 separate occasions from 1998 to 2005 the daughters were specifically asked about the paternity of their children by various people. But the report found that despite concerns, nothing was done as professionals felt that, as there was no evidence to prove it, there was nothing they could do. How could this happen? Alison Holt, social affairs correspondent This family was not hidden from view, as today's report makes abundantly clear. Instead professional after professional had suspicions about the hell these children endured, yet the most common action was to have a quiet word. For decades the system for safeguarding children has emphasised the importance of keeping families together. When it works the benefits are clear, but some experts say the threshold for taking children from dysfunctional parents is too high too often. It's a problem seen in many other reports into cases, the most recent major case being that of Baby Peter. The issues raised include professionals being over-optimistic about parents, not focusing on the child, not sharing information and lacking confidence to act. The authorities say services have changed and now the victims in this family would be better protected. But in this case the mistakes have been made over 35 years, spanning many changes in policies. Ms Fiennes said: "Professionals felt - wrongly - that, despite suspicions voiced by the other family members, they could not act unless they had a direct disclosure from the women themselves. "It was plainly unrealistic to expect victims in these harrowing circumstances to disclose what has happened to them. "There were collective failures, we all failed this family." Ms Cantrill said: "There's no doubt about it, if some of the professionals had actually recognised their responsibilities and accountability... they would have respectfully challenged people about their approach to management of this case." She added: "It only really needed one person with tenacity to actually keep pushing and pushing this and we might have had early recognition and action been taken." The press conference was told that nobody had been disciplined, sacked or had resigned over the failings. Dr Sonia Sharp, executive director of Children and Young People's Services on Sheffield City Council, said: "What is very clear in this case is there is not a single big omission or big act that we can say 'Yes, it was that person'. "What we can see, systematically, is time after time after time there were groups of people that failed to take action." The father was 56 at the time of his sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court. The judge, Alan Goldsack QC, said the case was the worst he had seen in 40 years. Attacks on the victims led to 18 pregnancies. Nine of the children were born, two of whom died on the day of their birth. The rest of the pregnancies were miscarried or aborted. The abuse started when the women were pre-pubescent, and they were badly beaten if they failed to comply. The father's minimum jail term of 19-and-a-half years was cut to 14-and-a-half years at the Court of Appeal in May 2009. The executive summary makes 128 recommendations - including eight national recommendations - for improving understanding, practice, procedures and training on interfamilial abuse...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/south_yorkshire/8559750.stm.

Toyota Boss Apologises for Faults
Toyota's president has apologised to the US Congress and American Toyota owners for safety problems that led to deaths and worldwide recalls. Akio Toyoda said he was "deeply sorry" for any incidents which had occurred as a result of failures with accelerators and brakes on several models... Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/8533352.stm.

Apology to Thalidomide Survivors
By Nick Triggle Health reporter
BBC News
The government [of the United Kingdom] has expressed its "sincere regret" and "deep sympathy" to the victims of the thalidomide scandal. Health minister Mike O'Brien made the apology in a statement to MPs - it comes after he unveiled a compensation package for survivors in December. Pregnant women were prescribed the drug in the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness or insomnia. It was withdrawn from sale in 1961 after babies were born with limb deformities and other damage. Mr O'Brien said: "The government wishes to express its sincere regret and deep sympathy for the injury and suffering endured by all those affected...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8458855.stm.

Australia 'Sorry' for Child Abuse
Australian PM Kevin Rudd has apologised to the hundreds of thousands of people, some British migrants, who were abused or neglected in state care as children. Mr Rudd said he was "deeply sorry" for the pain caused to the children and their extended families. He said he hoped the national apology would help to "heal the pain" and be a turning point in Australian history. Some 500,000 "forgotten Australians" were abused or neglected in orphanages and children's homes from 1930 to 1970. Mr Rudd's speech comes after his formal apology last year to Australia's Aboriginal community, especially the Stolen Generation. These were Aborigines who were taken from their parents and sent to state institutions and white families to be brought up under a policy which ended in the 1960s. 'Lost childhoods' The Canberra ceremony was attended by hundreds of people forced to migrate to Australia when young, some 7,000 of whom still live in Australia. Some wept openly and held each other as Mr Rudd shared stories of survivors he had spoken to, including those who were beaten with belt buckles or sexually violated as children. Kevin Rudd also offered an apology to child migrants taken from the UK to Australia after the war, often without their parents' consent...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8361389.stm.

African Slavery Apology 'Needed'
Traditional African rulers should apologise for the role they played in the slave trade, a Nigerian rights group has said in a letter to chiefs. "We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless," said the Civil Rights Congress. The letter said some collaborated or actively sold off their subjects. The group said it was time for African leaders to copy the US and the UK who have already said they were sorry. It urged Nigeria's traditional rulers to apologise on behalf of their forefathers and "put a final seal to the history of slave trade", AFP news agency reports. Civil Rights Congress president Shehu Sani says they are calling for this apology because traditional rulers are seeking inclusion in the forthcoming constitutional amendment in Nigeria. "We felt that for them to have the moral standing to be part of our constitutional arrangement there are some historical issues for them to address," he told the BBC World Service. "One part of which is the involvement of their institutions in the slave trade." He said that on behalf of the buyers of slaves, the ancestors of these traditional rulers "raided communities and kidnapped people, shipping them away across the Sahara or across the Atlantic". Millions of Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas over a period of about 450 years from the middle of the 15th Century. More than a million people are thought to have died while in transit across the so-called "middle passage" of the Atlantic, due to the inhuman conditions aboard the slave ships and brutal suppression of any resistance. Many slaves captured from the African interior died on the long journey to the coast...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8356357.stm.

PM Apology After Turing Petition
Gordon Brown has said he is sorry for the "appalling" way World War II code-breaker Alan Turing was treated for being gay. A petition on the No 10 website had called for a posthumous government apology to the computer pioneer. In 1952 Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency after admitting a sexual relationship with a man. Two years later he killed himself. The campaign was the idea of computer scientist John Graham-Cumming. He was seeking an apology for the way the mathematician was treated after his conviction. He also wrote to the Queen to ask for Turing to be awarded a posthumous knighthood. The campaign was backed by author Ian McEwan, scientist Richard Dawkins and gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. The petition posted on the Downing Street website attracted thousands of signatures. Mr Brown, writing in the Telegraph newspaper, said: "While Mr Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him."...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/8249792.stm.

Harper Officially Apologizes for Native Residential Schools
The federal government was wrong to tear thousands of aboriginal children from their parents and communities and force them into residential schools where they were subjected to maltreatment and abuse, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said today. In a hushed and emotional House of Commons, Harper delivered a solemn apology for the federal government’s program of residential schools – and its sad legacy of abuse, assimilation and lasting pain. “Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian Residential schools,” Harper said. “The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. “The government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this,” Harper said...
Read more at http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/441414.

Pope Will Reach out to Natives in Canada: Plans to Express Regret for Abuses in Schools
An estimated 150,000 aboriginal children were forced into Canada's Indian residential schools between 1920 and the 1970s, and many were subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Pope Benedict XVI will express regret to Canada's aboriginal peoples this month for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the abuse of thousands of children in residential schools, says the leader of the Assembly of First Nations... >
Read more at http://www.thestar.com/Unassigned/article/618568.

Swiss Pardon Spain War Veterans
Switzerland's parliament has voted to pardon its citizens who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Hundreds of Swiss men and women volunteered with the Spanish Republican forces in the 1930s, despite it being illegal to fight for a foreign army. They often received harsh treatment on their return - many were jailed and stripped of their citizenship. Switzerland is the last country to lift convictions on its Spanish volunteers, only a handful of whom are still alive. The Swiss contingent fighting with the Republicans in Spain was, proportionally, one of Europe's largest. But the Swiss government banned fundraising for Spain and made it illegal to fight for a foreign country, saying doing so was necessary to defend Switzerland's long-held tradition of neutrality. The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Berne says that despite years of campaigning, previous attempts to pardon the volunteers failed...
Please read the entire story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7940963.stm.

Japan Finance Minister Steps Down
Japan's Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa has resigned, amid claims that he was drunk at a recent G7 meeting... Mr Nakagawa apologised for "causing such a big fuss" and told journalists: "I decided that it would be better for the country if I quit." He has already apologised for his behaviour at last weekend's news conference in Rome but blamed cold remedies for a slurred performance there. He said he had not drunk more than a sip of alcohol before facing the media...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7893924.stm.

Landmark Khmer Rouge Trial Starts
The long-awaited UN-backed trial of a former Khmer Rouge leader in Cambodia has opened at a Phnom Penh court, 30 years after the murderous regime fell. Kaing Guek Eav - better known as Duch - was head of a notorious prison camp and is accused of presiding over the murder and torture of at least 15,000 inmates... He is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders who will face trial and is unusual in that he has expressed regret for what he did, and asked the forgiveness of his victims. He wanted another chance to express his remorse, Mr Roux told reporters... 'Killing fields' Duch, a former teacher, was commander of the Tuol Sleng interrogation centre, also known as S-21, in the capital Phnom Penh for four years after the Khmer Rouge victory in 1975. He is accused of personally overseeing the systematic torture of more than 15,000 prisoners...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7893138.stm.

French Holocaust Role Recognised
France's highest court has recognised the state's "responsibility" for the deportation of Jews in World War II. The Council of State said the state had permitted or facilitated deportations that led to anti-Semitic persecution without being coerced by the occupiers. But the council also found reparations had since been made "as much as was possible, for all the losses suffered". Correspondents say the ruling is the clearest such recognition of the French state's role in the Holocaust. Between 1942 and 1944 some 76,000 Jews were deported from France by the Vichy government in collaboration with the German occupying army. In 1995, former French President Jacques Chirac officially recognised the French state's responsibility in the deportation of French Jews, putting an end to decades of ambiguity by successive governments. "These dark hours forever sully our history and are an insult to our past and our traditions," he said. "Yes, the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state." Previous administrations had always blamed either Nazi Germany or the Vichy government, absolving the French state of responsibility...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7893127.stm.

New Zealand Maori Win Haka Fight
The New Zealand government has agreed to acknowledge Maori ownership of the haka war dance used by the national rugby team, the All Blacks. The agreement comes after protracted negotiations between the government and several Maori tribes seeking compensation for historic grievances. Millions of dollars are being paid in a comprehensive settlement. The move follows concerns the Ka Mate haka, known to rugby fans world-wide, was being commercially exploited...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7882775.stm.

Former Banking Bosses Say 'Sorry'
The former bosses of the two biggest UK casualties of the banking crisis have apologised "profoundly and unreservedly" for their banks' failure. Former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin told MPs on the Treasury Committee he "could not be more sorry" for what had happened. The former bank chiefs also said the bonus culture had contributed to the crisis and needed to be reviewed. But Sir Fred said if bankers felt they were not paid enough, they would leave...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7880292.stm.

Turkish Thinkers' Armenia Apology
By Sarah Rainsford BBC News, Istanbul An internet petition has been launched in Turkey, apologising for the "great catastrophe of 1915" when hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians died. Many international historians say the massacres and deaths of Armenians during their forced removal from what is now eastern Turkey were "genocide". Turkey firmly denies that, saying those who died were just victims of war. The petition - the first of its kind - was initiated by prominent Turkish academics and newspaper columnists. They say they want to challenge the official denial and provoke discussion in Turkish society about what happened. The petition is entitled "I apologise". A short statement at the top reads: "My conscience cannot accept the ignorance and denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and - on my own behalf - I share the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers - and I apologise to them." It is a bold and original step in a country where writer Hrant Dink was killed just last year for openly saying that the events of 1915 were genocide. Previously he had been tried for "insulting Turkishness" for his comments on 1915 - as was Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel prize-winning author, who said that a million Armenians were killed "in these lands" and no-one dared talk about it ...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7784230.stm.

RBS Boss Apologises Over Losses
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chairman, Sir Tom McKillop, has said he is "profoundly sorry" for the bank's financial difficulties...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7740234.stm.

Haringey Apologises over Baby P
The leader of Haringey Council has offered his "heartfelt and unreserved" apology for the death of Baby P. Councillor George Meehan said there had been failure "by all the agencies involved" in the case. He made the apology at a cabinet meeting at which the Liberal Democrats called for his resignation. The death of the 17-month-old baby boy in August 2007 in the north London borough has sparked public outrage over the child protection system in England...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7736566.stm.

Turkey Apology over Prison Death
Turkey's justice minister has apologised to the family of a human rights activist who was allegedly beaten to death by prison officers. Mehmet Ali Sahin said 19 officials had been suspended in connection with the death of Engin Ceber last week. The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says it is rare for Turkey to issue apologies over allegations of abuse. The government has a policy of zero-tolerance regarding torture, but rights groups say the problem persists. Mr Ceber, 29, was arrested for protesting about the shooting by police of a fellow activist last year. He was taken to a prison in Istanbul where it is claimed he was severely beaten. He complained to his lawyer and was taken to hospital, where he fell into a coma and died on Saturday night...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7670678.stm.

Italy Apologises to Libya
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has signed an agreement to pay Libya $5bn as part of a deal to resolve colonial-era disputes. The settlement was a "complete and moral acknowledgement of the damage inflicted on Libya by Italy during the colonial era", the Italian prime minister said. "In this historic document, Italy apologises for its killing, destruction and repression against Libyans during the colonial rule," Col Gaddafi said for his part. This is the first African country to be compensated by a former colonial master, the BBC's Rana Jawad reports from Benghazi. The question is: will this latest move set precedents for other former African countries to follow suit?...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7589557.stm.

Indonesia Regrets East Timor Wrongs
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed "remorse" for wrongs committed during East Timor's vote for independence in 1999. He made the statement as he received the final report of their two countries' Truth and Friendship Commission in the resort of Bali. The report details systematic crimes against humanity - and lays much of the blame at the door of Indonesia's army. But the leaders of both countries say they are interested in moving on. About 1,000 people are believed to have been murdered, and many others tortured, raped and displaced during 1999. Neither country has expressed interest in prosecuting individuals on the basis of the report - though correspondents say it could strengthen such demands from campaigners. The commission was boycotted by the United Nations, which has already blamed Indonesia and demanded that those responsible face justice.
'Lives and property': Both Mr Yudhoyono and East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta formally accepted the report, which followed three years of investigations. "We convey very deep remorse at what happened in the past that has caused the loss of lives and property," Mr Yudhoyono said. But he stopped short of a full apology to the Timorese people who, the report found, were subjected to a systematic campaign of violence and gross human-rights abuses in the run-up to their 1999 vote to gain independence from Indonesia...
Read more http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7506702.stm.

Florida Legislature Apologizes for State’s History of Slavery
The Florida Legislature formally apologized Wednesday for the state’s “shameful” history of slavery, joining five other states that have expressed public regret for what Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, recently called America’s “original sin”...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7348548.stm.

Warm US Welcome for Pope Benedict
...Before arriving the Pope told reporters on board his plane that he was "deeply ashamed" of sexual abuse by US clergy...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7348548.stm.

Australia Apology to Aborigines
Kevin Rudd's apology represents a break from previous policies
The Australian government has made a formal apology for the past wrongs caused by successive governments on the indigenous Aboriginal population.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised in parliament to all Aborigines for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss"...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7241965.stm.
See the full text of Kevin Rudd's apology speech.

Sarkozy Says Colonial Rule Unjust
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said during a visit to former colony Algeria that his country's colonial rule was "profoundly unjust".
Mr Sarkozy was recently attacked by some in Algeria over his refusal to apologise for France's colonial past...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/7124548.stm.

Uganda Rebels Ask for Forgiveness
A representative for the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels has asked war victims in the north to forgive them.
"The LRA made plenty of mistakes and I ask for forgiveness for what happened to our people," visiting LRA spokesman Martin Ojul told a local radio station...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7080735.stm.

Australian Aboriginal Leaders: "Only a Formal Apology will Suffice"
Many Aboriginal leaders have already criticised the speech in Sydney, saying that tinkering with the constitution means nothing and that only a formal apology will suffice...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7039823.stm.

Mattel Sorry for 'Design Flaws'
Mattel says it was mainly to blame
Mattel has admitted that most of the toys recalled in recent safety scares had "design flaws" and that Chinese manufacturers were not to blame.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7006599.stm.

Japan PM Apology on Sex Slaves
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologised in parliament for the country's use of women as sex slaves during World War II.
The apology comes after Mr Abe was criticised by Asian neighbours for previous comments casting doubt on whether the women were coerced.
Mr Abe told parliament: "I apologise here and now as prime minister."
This appears to be part of a concerted bid to reduce the fall-out of earlier comments, a BBC correspondent says.
Mr Abe said, during a debate in parliament's upper house, that he stood by an official 1993 statement in which Japan acknowledged the imperial army set up and ran brothels for its troops during the war.
"As I frequently say, I feel sympathy for the people who underwent hardships, and I apologise for the fact that they were placed in this situation at the time," he said.
His statement has gone a little further than similar attempts to clarify his position two weeks ago, but is unlikely to satisfy all his critics abroad, the BBC's Chris Hogg in Tokyo says.
The row over his comments have compounded the difficulties facing Mr Abe. His six-month premiership has already been rocked by a series of scandals and gaffes.
An opinion poll on Monday found public support for him - Japan's youngest ever prime minister - had shrunk to just 35%....
Read the entire text at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6495115.stm.

Japan Refuses Sex Slave Apology
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan will not issue another apology for its World War II military brothels.
Mr Abe said none of the testimony in recent US Congress hearings showed solid proof prostitutes were abused. Elaborating on comments he made last week, he said he would not go beyond a 1993 apology on the issue, even if Washington asked for one. Many historians say Japan compelled up to 200,000 women, mostly Chinese and Korean, to become sex slaves. But some Japanese scholars deny that force was used to round up the women, blaming private contractors for any abuses...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6418337.stm.

Blair 'Sorrow' Over Slave Trade
Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he feels "deep sorrow" for Britain's role in the slave trade.
In an article for the New Nation newspaper, the prime minister said it had been "profoundly shameful". But Mr Blair stopped short of issuing a full apology, which some commentators have demanded...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/6185176.stm.

MoD seeks 300 WWI soldier pardons
The Ministry of Defence is to seek pardons for more than 300 soldiers who were shot for military offences during World War I.
Defence Secretary Des Browne said he would be seeking a group pardon, approved by Parliament, for the men. It is thought 306 British soldiers were shot for cowardice, desertion or other offences in the 1914-1918 war. Among them was Private Harry Farr, shot for cowardice in 1916 aged 25. His family said they were "overwhelmed".
They have been campaigning for years for him to be pardoned, arguing that he was suffering from shell-shock and should not have been sent back to the trenches.
Please see the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4796579.stm.

France Remembers Slavery Victims
A French envoy has said her country did profit from slavery as it officially commemorates the victims of the trade for the first time. "It profited from the commerce in human beings... ripped from the African homeland," Junior Co-operation Minister Brigitte Girardin said in Senegal. She was visiting a notorious slave island off the coast of Senegal. In Paris, President Jacques Chirac said facing up to the colonial past was a "key to national cohesion". He opened an art exhibition in Paris's Luxembourg Gardens while other cities and venues around France held their own ceremonies for Slavery Remembrance Day - the first such event in an EU state. Wednesday's day of commemoration was ordered by Mr Chirac, on the fifth anniversary of the passing of a law by the French Senate recognising slavery as a crime against humanity. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were taken by French ships from Africa to plantations in the Caribbean before France banned the practice in 1848.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4756635.stm.

Kenya Church Makes Aids Apology
Kenya's Anglican Church has issued a public apology for previously shunning those with HIV/Aids. "Our earlier approach in fighting Aids was misplaced, since we likened it to a disease for sinners and a curse from God," said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi. He was speaking to a group of HIV positive Christian and Muslim clergy. The BBC's Gladys Njoroge in Kenya says there has been lots of church discrimination against those with HIV - some have been excommunicated.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4814022.stm.

Church Apologises for Slave Trade
The Church of England has voted to apologise to the descendents of victims of the slave trade. An amendment "recognising the damage done" to those enslaved was backed overwhelmingly by the General Synod. Debating the motion, Rev Simon Bessant, from Pleckgate, Blackburn, described the Church's involvement in the trade, saying: "We were at the heart of it." The amendment was supported by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Dr Williams said the apology was "necessary". He said: "The body of Christ is not just a body that exists at any one time, it exists across history and we therefore share the shame and the sinfulness of our predecessors and part of what we can do, with them and for them in the body of Christ, is prayer for acknowledgement of the failure that is part of us not just of some distant 'them'."
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4694896.stm.

Jaruzelski Says Sorry for 1968
Former Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski has apologised for the first time for the role he played in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Gen Jaruzelski, 82, said he was still "tormented" by the decision to send in Polish troops to crush a pro-democracy movement, known as the "Prague Spring".
He made the apology on the 37th anniversary of the invasion on the Czech television.
Gen Jaruzelski was Poland's minister of defence at the time.
"It was a stupid political act," he said during a TV debate on the issue.
"Today I deeply regret it but at the time I could not act otherwise. It was a political decision.
"But, in 1968, I was the defence minister implementing a political decision, convinced that there were grounds for that on the basis of the information available to us then," Gen Jaruzelski said. Please read the entire text here.

Veterans Reject Japanese 'Sorrow' (26th May 1998)
Emperor Akihito of Japan has spoken of his "deep sorrow and pain" over the suffering inflicted by his country during World War II, but did not apologise for the treatment of prisoners in work camps. Addressing a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, attended by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Mother and 11 other senior Royals, the Emperor said he could "never forget" the many kinds of suffering experienced by so many...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/26/newsid_2502000/2502547.stm.

The Historical "Walk to Canossa" in 1077
(Sometimes called the Way to Canossa; German, Gang nach Canossa; Italian, l'umiliazione di Canossa.)
Pope Gregory VII attempted to enact reforms but was met by resistance from the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV. Henry renounced Gregory as pope. In return, Gregory excommunicated and deposed Henry. Fearing rebellion among the German aristocracy, Henry walked from Speyer in Germany to the fortress at Canossa in Northern Italy, where the pope resided at that moment, to repent.