Category Archives: Solidarity

[Press Release] Civil society launches #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the imprisoned ADHOC staff and NEC official

Civil society launches #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the imprisoned ADHOC staff and NEC official

Infographic _Free the 5_ENGWe, the undersigned civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations, launch today – 8 August 2016 – the #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the five human rights defenders, who are currently in pre-trial detention and under judicial investigation for allegations of bribery.  The five face charges in regard to providing advice and legitimate reimbursement of food and transport costs to the woman alleged to have had an extra-marital relationship with the deputy opposition leader, Kem Sokha. The charges have all the hallmarks of being politically motivated, amounting to legal harassment. The five rights defenders have now spent over 100 days in prison (102 days as of today).

As part of the campaign, we call on all concerned citizens to send messages of solidarity to the five rights defenders via postcards, which we will collect and deliver to the detainees until they are released. In addition, to raise awareness of their continued detention we will release periodically a series of infographics on our Facebook page and Twitter with the hashtag #FreeThe5KH. This campaign will complement already existing advocacy efforts taken on a local, regional and international level. To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved, please visit http://www.freethe5kh.net.

The five human rights defenders – four senior staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Ny Sokha, Mr. Yi Soksan, Mr. Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony, and deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (and former ADHOC staff member) Mr. Ny Chakrya – were detained on 28 April 2016. On 2 May, the four ADHOC staff were charged with bribing a witness, and Mr. Ny Chakrya was charged as an accomplice to the same crime. United Nations (UN) staffer Mr. Soen Sally was also charged as an accomplice; however, he remains free due to his immunity as a UN official. That same day, Mr. Ny Chakrya was transferred to Police Judiciare and the four ADHOC staff were transferred to Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison. The Appeal Court denied the detainees bail on 13 June. A final appeal against the bail decisions is pending before the Supreme Court.

The #FreeThe5KH campaign aims to garner support for the five detained human rights defenders, to remind them that the public has not forgotten about their cause and to help keep their morale high while they remain in detention.

This joint press release is endorsed by:

1.     ActionAid Cambodia

2.     Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)

3.     Amnesty International

4.     Asia Democracy Network (ADN)

5.     Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

6.     ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)

7.     Bandanh Chaktomuk Community

8.     Boat People SOS

9.     Burma Partnership

10.  Boeung Kak Community

11.  Boeung Trabek Community

12.  Borei Keila Community

13.  CamASEAN Youth’s Future

14.  Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA)

15.  Cambodia Volunteers for Society (CVS)

16.  Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)

17.  Cambodian Human Rights Action Coalition (CHRAC)

18.  Cambodian Women’s Development Agency (CWDA)

19.  Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)

20.  Cambodian Independent Teacher Association (CITA)

21.  Civil Rights Defenders

22.  Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability (CISA)

23.  Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community (CCFC)

24.  Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

25.  Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)

26.  Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC)

27.  Equitable Cambodia (EC)

28.  Former Boeung Kak Women Network Community

29.  Front Line Defenders

30.  Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)

31.  Heinrich Böll Stiftung/Foundation

32.  Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)

33.  Human Rights Watch

34.  Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)

35.  Indigenous Youth at Prome Commune, Preah Vihear Province

36.  Indradevi Association

37.  International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

38.  Kuoy Ethnic Community at Prame Commune, Preah Vihear Province

39.  Land Conflict Community, Krous Village, Battambang Province

40.  Land Conflict Community, Skun Village, Siem Reap Province

41.  Land Community, Prek Chik Village, Koh Kong Province

42.  Land Community, Village I, Sangkat III, Preah Sihanouk Province

43.  Lor Peang Community, Kampong Chhnang Province

44.  Phnom Bat Community

45.  Ponlok Khmer

46.  Railway Station, Tuol Sangkae A Community

47.  SOS International Airport Community

48.  Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

49.  Star Kampuchea

50.  Strey Khmer Organization

51.   Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

52.  World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally
published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or
change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and
original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the
tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc

[Press Release] The Role of Civil Society and ASEAN Bodies in Achieving a People-centered ASEAN -ACSC/APF 2016

The Role of Civil Society and ASEAN Bodies in Achieving a People-centered ASEAN

cropped-APF-2016-logoDili, Timor-Leste – 05-08-2016- The final day of the ACSC/APF 2016 examined the progress and efficacy of ASEAN and its mechanisms in achieving a people-centered community.

H.E. Mr. Xanana Gusmao, Minister of Strategic Investment in Timor-Leste, engaging participants in an open dialogue, commented on the historical importance of ASEAN as a people’s movement, stating: “When Timor-Leste was suffering and the rest of the world had forsaken it, international civil society, ASEAN civil society, stood with us.”

Minister Gusmao also discussed the ongoing need for civil society to monitor and restrain the actions of the state, keeping the state accountable. To this end, he said, “We must celebrate the success of ASEAN…but we must have a growing sense of solidarity and plan of action for the future.”

Minister Gusmao concluded his address with a request for solidarity from ASEAN civil society, once again, in checking the actions of government. “I ask of you one last thing. The Timorlese have a final struggle to achieve our sovereignty. Determining our maritime boundaries is a matter of sovereignty. It is the final step in our struggle. We fought for sovereignty over our land, and now we are fighting for sovereignty over our seas.”

In the second session of the day, representatives from various ASEAN bodies examined the effectiveness of ASEAN bodies in achieving a people-centered approach, and the way forward towards this vision.

To this end, Mr. Sinapan Samydorai of AFML emphasised the need to finalise the Draft ASEAN Instrument on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers, in order to acknowledge the critical role played by migrant workers in ASEAN economies, and to achieve an inclusive ASEAN community.

Professor Aurora Javate, ACWC Philippines Representative, highlighted the implementation of commitments under CEDAW and CRC as a priority of ACWC, stating that, “Without a gender-
perspective, and people-centered framework, a caring and sharing ASEAN community is
impossible to achieve.”

Edmund Bon, the Malaysia representative to AICHR, shared an aspirational view of AICHR in
adopting a people-centered approach that upholds human rights, saying, “ AICHR must be a
body that sets standards. It must be a charter body, in that it interprets the ASEAN Human
Rights Declaration and talks about its scope and applicability, and it must be a body that can issue statements on areas of concern.”

As emphasised by Minister Gusmao and the representatives of the various ASEAN human rights
mechanisms, the way forward lies with civil society’s continued activism and solidarity, as well as their diligence in pressuring and shaping the existing ASEAN bodies towards a truly inclusive and people-centered ASEAN.

The ACSC/APF 2016 Conference is taking place on 02-05 August 2016, at the Dili Convention
Center in Timor-Leste. The full programme of the ACSC/APF 2016 can be viewed at
aseanpeople.org.

For more detailed information, please contact AFP’s Media Representatives:
1. Alberico da Costa Junior, alberico@tlmdc.org, Mobile:77254078
2. Berta, ino_moniz@yahoo.com.au, Mobile:
3. Franciscoda Silva Gari, Email:francisco@tlmdc.org, Mobile: 77235163
4. Fransiskus XS, Email: Fransiskus.xs@alolafoundation.org, Mobile: 78000002
5. Zevonia Vieira, Email: voniavieira@yahoo.com, Mobile : 78562929
Website :www.aseanpeople.org – Facebook :ASEANPeoplesForum – Twitter :@AseanPF
Hashtag : #AseanPF #Asean #Aseanpeople #APF2016 #timorleste

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally
published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or
change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and
original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the
tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc

[Appeal] Thailand: Drop all charges against 16 student human rights defenders

 

OPEN LETTER

Attn:
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
Government House
Pitsanulok Road,
Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

Gen. Somyot Pumpanmuang
Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General
Royal Thai Police
Floor 7, Building 1, Rama 1 Road,

Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Chief of Judge Advocate General
The Judge Advocate General’s Office
Government Building

Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, Building 4, Chaeng Wattana Road,

Lak Si, Bangkok 10210, Thailand +66 2 575 6327

Subject: Drop all charges against 16 human rights defenders

Dear General Chan-ocha, General Pumpanmuang and Chief of Judge Advocate General,

We, the undersigned human rights organisations, write to you regarding the charges against 16 student and allied activists (7 from the Dao Din student group based at Khon Kaen University, and 9 from Bangkok), 14 of whom were detained from 26th June to 8th July 2015 in Bangkok. These 16 students have been charged for their role in peaceful public assemblies on 22 nd May 2015 commemorating the first-year anniversary of the May 2014 military coup.

The 14 who were detained for 12 days are facing additional sedition charges, which were used on 26th June 2015 to arrest them. These 14 students from the Neo-Democracy Movement were taken to Bangkok Military Court around midnight on 26th June 2015, when the Military Court granted the Royal Thai Police’s request for pre-trial detention ro a 12 day period. The 14 students are being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. The same Bangkok Military Court rejected the

Royal Thai Police’s request to extend the pre-trial detention on 7th July 2015. The 14 were released 24 hours after the decision on 8th July 2015, but they are still facing all the charges filed against them.

The 14 who were detained for 12 days include 7 members of a Khon Kaen-based student group: Mr. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Mr. Apiwat Suntararak, Mr. Payu Boonsopon, Mr. Panupong Srithananuwat, Mr. Suvicha Tipangkorn, Mr. Supachai Pukrongploy and Mr. Wassant Saetsit. All were initially arrested on 22nd May 2015 when they staged a peaceful protest in Khon Kaen against the effects of military rule on community rights, human rights and the poor in northeast Thailand. They were granted bail after having been charged by Khon Kaen Military Court for violating Order No. 3/2558 (3/2015) issued by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Similarly, the 7 Bangkok-based university students and allies – Mr. Rattapol Supasupon, Mr. Rangsiman Rome, Mr. Songtham Kaewpanpruk, Ms. Chonthicha Jaengraew, Mr. Apisit

Sapnapaphan, Mr. Pakorn Areekul, and Mr. Pornchai Yuanyee – staged a peaceful protest in central Bangkok on 22nd May 2015, have been charged with violating NCPO Order 3/2558. The sedition charges for all 14 students, under Section 116 of the Thai Penal

Code, follow the students’ peaceful demonstrations against your military government in Bangkok on 24th June and 25th June 2015.

We condemn the use and existence of Order 3/2558, because this order invokes all NCPO Orders issued between 22nd May 2014 and 1st April 2015, which have effectively suspended all civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms on unjustifiable grounds of “national security.” Article 116 of the Thai Penal Code is a severe and unacceptable restriction on freedom of speech which is used to criminalise political activists.

Order 3/2558, issued by virtue of Article 44 of the Interim Constitution 2557 B.E., gives sweeping powers and provides blanket immunity to your military government. It allows the militarization of all law- enforcement and state operations. For example, this Order enables the continued use of military courts and military personnel to carry out measures under the Criminal Procedure Code. Furthermore, officials exercising duties under this Order enjoy full immunity from both disciplinary and criminal justice procedures.

The use of military courts to try civilians is a blatant violation of international fair trial rights, as guaranteed by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand ratified in 1996, and is legally bound to implement. Article 14, Paragraph 1, enshrines the principle of trials being conducted by a “competent, independent and impartial tribunal.” This principle is violated by the use of military courts to try civilians; especially when the military controls all branches of state power, including the executive, legislative, and now, judicial branches. Article 14, Paragraph 5, explicitly guarantees the right to judicial review of any conviction and sentence by a higher court, which is a right denied to anyone tried in a military court in Thailand.

Furthermore, we decry the harassment and intimidation of the students and allies’ groups. The ICCPR imposes legally-binding obligations on State Parties to respect a number of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression (Article 19) and the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21).

We also call your attention to Article 17 of the ICCPR which guarantees the right to protection from “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, [and] to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.” State authorities stand in direct violation of this right as they have carried out a constant campaign of intimidation and harassment of the students’ affinity groups. Uniformed officials (both police and military) have been photographing the students’ parents houses; authorities have been questioning parents on the upbringing of their children; Khon Kaen University has been pressured to call all the students’ parents in for a meeting where authorities lectured the parents on 11th June 2015; and soldiers, police and other authorities have been threatening repercussions if community-based Human Rights Defenders associate with the Dao Din student group again.

Finally, your Orders as head of the NCPO violate the rights and freedoms guaranteed by international human rights law, which continues to apply to Thailand under the Interim Constitution. Most directly, Article 25 of the ICCPR enshrines the right to participate in public affairs for people. The suspension of elections, community rights, community participation in environmental and natural resource management policy are all violations of Article 25. The absolute power you hold, as per Article 44 of the Interim Constitution, effectively guts this right.

The students and allies’ commemorative activities on the 22nd May 2015 and their pro-democracy demonstrations on 24th June and 25 th June 2015, expressed their opposition to these systematic and institutional violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It must be underlined that Article 19 of the ICCPR also guarantees the right to hold any opinion and express it by any media. Thus, students have throughout all their activities been peacefully exercising their own human rights and fundamental freedoms to decry your military government’s violations of the Thai people’s human rights. The legal persecution of these students and allies, and the authorities’ harassment of the students’ affinity groups are direct breaches of international human rights law. If these charges are pressed on against students and allies and the military court declares them guilty, they would be political prisoners of your repressive regime.

These civic-minded students and allies, and all community-based Human Rights Defenders they work with, deserve recognition, not criminalisation. Socially-conscious individuals, especially youth, who engage in peaceful actions to promote human rights are essential to an open and democratic society and contribute to social justice.

Therefore, we urge you to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges and end all legal proceedings against the 16 students and allies;

2. Immediately stop the harassment of the students and allies’ lawyers by authorities;

3. Stop all harassment and intimidation of the students and allies’ affinity groups, including the students’ family members, fellow students, friendship groups, community-based support groups, citizen journalists, and academics;

4. Immediately revoke all NCPO Orders and Article 44 of the Interim Constitution and promptly return all executive and legislative branches of state power to democratically elected civilians.

Signed:

1. ALIRAN (Malaysia)
2. Article 19

3. Arus Pelangi (Indonesia)
4. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR, ASEAN)
5. ASEAN Youth Forum (ASEAN)

6. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (Burma/Myanmar)

7. Arakan Observer Group (Arakan, Burma)

8. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC, Arakan, Burma)

9. Australian Burmese Rohingya Association (ABRA, Australia)

10. Australia Asia Worker Links (Australia)

11. Australian Unions (ACTU, Australia)

12. Cambodian Human Rights and Development (ADHOC, Cambodia)

13. Centre for Development Resources (CENFORD, Vietnam)

14. Cross-Cultural Foundation (Thailand)
15. Committee for Asian Women and Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (Malaysia)

16. De Nieuwe Universiteit (The Netherlands)

17. Democratic Commission for Human Development (Pakistan)

18. Focus on the Global South

19. Foundation for Media Alternatives( Philippines )
20. Globalization Monitor

21. INSTITUT PEREMPUAN ,Women ‘s Institute ( Indonesia )

22. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section (KLSCAHYS, Malaysia)
23. Malaysia Support Group for democracy in Thailand (Malaysia)

24. Malaysian against Death Penalty & Torture (Malaysia)

25. Malaysian Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA, Malaysia)

26. Migrante International

27. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization (MERHROM, Malaysia)
28. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (Sri Lanka)

29. National Free Trade Union (Sri Lanka)

30. North South Initiative

31. Socialist Party of Malaysia (Malaysia)

32. Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN (ASEAN)

33. Pax Romana ICMICA Asia

34. Pax Romana International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia Pacific

35. People Like Us Satu Hati (PLUSH, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

36. People’s Empowerment Foundation (Thailand)

37. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Malaysia)

38. Protection International

39. Rohingya American Society (RARS, Milwaukee, USA)
40. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC, Malaysia)

41. Rohingya Concern International (RCI, New York, USA)
42. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF, Arakan, Burma)

43. Think Centre (Singapore)

44. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (Vietnam)
45. Worker Hub for Change (Malaysia)

Individual endorsements

1. David Anthony

2. David Suber, co-President of the Students Union of the London School of Oriental and African Studies (United Kingdom)

3. Jonelle Twum, supporter from Sweden
4. K Aingkaran, Attorney-at-Law, supporter from Sri Lanka

5. Niza Concepcion, supporter from the Philippines
6. Dr. Paiboon Hengsuwan, Lecturer of Department of Women’s Studies, Faculty of

Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University (Thailand)

7. Rahmayana Fitri, Leader of Youth Development at The Leader and Peace activist in Aceh (Indonesia)

8. Dr. Ronald McCoy, Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (Malaysia)

9. Shruti Upadhyay

10. S.K. Priya, 110 Law Chambers (India)

11. William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist (United Kingdom)

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

 

[Solidarity] Thailand: Junta Arrests 14 Student Activists -Sedition Charge Could Mean 7 Years in Prison for Peaceful Rally -HRW

Thailand: Junta Arrests 14 Student Activists –Sedition Charge Could Mean 7 Years in Prison for Peaceful Rally

(New York, June 27, 2015) – Thai authorities should immediately drop all charges and release unconditionally 14 student activists who peacefully expressed opposition to military rule, Human Rights Watch said today.

200px-Hrw_logo.svg

On June 26, 2015 in Bangkok, police and soldiers enforced a military court warrant to arrest 14 students from the Neo-Democracy Movement for sedition and violating the military junta’s ban on public assembly. The students are now held in the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women Correctional Institution for 12 days while awaiting trial in a military court.

“Thailand’s junta should immediately stop arresting and prosecuting student activists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While insisting they aren’t dictators, the Thai generals have used the military courts as a central feature of their crackdown against peaceful criticism and political dissent.”

On June 24 and 25 authorities arrested Rangsiman Rome, Wasant Sadesit, Songtham Kaewpanphruek, Payu Boonsopon, Apiwat Suntararak, Rattapol Supasophon, Supachai Pookhlongploy, Apisit Sapnapapha, Panupong Sritananuwat, Suvicha Pitungkorn, Pakorn Areekul, Chatupat Boonyapatraksa, Pornchai Yuanyee and Chonticha Chaengreo. The students took part in peaceful rallies calling for an end to military rule under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The army commander-in-chief, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, publicly accused the 14 student activists of being backed by anti-government groups and claimed their actions could lead to disturbances and violence.

If found guilty of sedition under article 116 of the penal code, the harsh provision criminalizing free expression under Thai law, the activists would face up to seven years in prison. In addition, they would face an additional six-month prison term and a fine of up to 10,000 baht (US$312) for breaching the NCPO’s public assembly ban.

These latest arbitrary arrests again demonstrate the military junta’s unwillingness to ease its oppressive rule, Human Rights Watch said. International human rights law, as reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Thailand in 1996, protects the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, since the May 2014 coup, the junta has banned political gatherings of more than five people. The authorities have arrested at least 80 people for organizing or taking part in such public gatherings.

The NCPO’s 37th order replaces civilian courts with military tribunals for crimes of national security and sedition, and for lese majeste (offending the monarchy). Individuals who violate the NCPO’s orders are also subject to prosecution in military courts. Hundreds of people, mostly political dissidents and critics of the NCPO, have been sent to trials in military courts since the coup.

International human rights law prohibits governments from using military courts to try civilians when civilian courts are functioning. The use of military courts in Thailand also fails to meet international fair trial standards under the ICCPR. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the ICCPR, has stated in its General Comment on the right to a fair trial that “the trial of civilians in military or special courts may raise serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned.” This is particularly problematic in Thailand where every element of military courts functions within the Defense Ministry’s chain of command.

“With each new arrest, Thailand’s path toward democracy is getting harder to find,” Adams said. “Governments around the world should press the junta to end repression and respect fundamental rights.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Thailand, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/thailand

For more information, please contact:
In Bangkok, Sunai Phasuk (English, Thai): +66-81-632-3052 (mobile); or phasuks@hrw.org
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1 347 463 3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @johnsifton

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Urgent Appeal] Kyrgyzstan: Assault against participants to an anti-homophobia event organised by Labris -The Observatory

The Observatory: Kyrgyzstan: Assault against participants to an anti-homophobia event organised by Labris

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

KGZ 002 / 0515 / OBS 043
Harassment / Assault / Ill-treatment
Obstacles to freedom of peaceful assembly
Kyrgyzstan
May 21, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kyrgyzstan.

OBS1

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about an assault against participants to an event organised by Labris, a local NGO advocating for the respect of the rights of the LGBTI community in Kyrgyzstan.

According to the information received, on May 17, 2015, the organisers and the participants to the event held to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia were verbally and physically attacked and one participant was injured. The group of men responsible for the assault is allegedly associated with Kalys and Kirk Choro, two groups well known for their anti-LGBTI positions.

Afterwards, both assaulters and participants were taken under police custody. Upon their arrival at the police station, the participants faced further harassment by the police officers, who denied them medical care and subjected them to humiliating personal searches. On the other hand, the assaulters were treated respectfully. Moreover, two lawyers called to the police station by activists were denied access. A third attempt to request lawyer’s presence was only partially complied, as the lawyer was denied access to the interrogation room.

After more than five hours of questioning under police custody, finally a criminal case was opened against the assaulters, while the participants were released. The participants are planning to file a complaint against the police officers.

The Observatory recalls that Kyrgyz LGBTI rights defenders have been recently facing constant harassment. One month ago, the premises of the NGO Labris were set on fire.

The Observatory is further concerned about the consideration by the Kyrgyz Parliament of a highly controversial law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. If passed, the law shall provide for administrative and criminal sanctions in the form of fines and imprisonment up to one year. The draft law, that was condemned by civil society, international human rights bodies and other international actors as being inherently discriminatory and infringing freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and other fundamental rights protected by Kyrgyzstan’s Constitution, was largely approved in the first reading in October 2014.

The Observatory is also extremely concerned by the fatwa launched on January 29, 2014, by Kyrgyzstan’s acting grand mufti, Maksat Hajji Toktomushev, against same-sex relations. Back in 2014, the mufti alreadycalled on the Kyrgyz authorities to “pay particular attention to the activities of public organisations that seed social hatred using humanitarian ideas”.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the above-mentioned events and more in general about the intensification of harassment against the LGBTI community and its supporters, and fears that participants and organisers of the event on May 17, 2015 were attacked as a result of their human rights activities.

The Observatory calls for an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the assault, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Kyrgyzstan, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of members of Labris NGO and, more in general, of LGBTI rights defenders and organisations in Kyrgyzstan;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against members of Labris NGO and, more in general, against LGBTI rights defenders and organisations in Kyrgyzstan;

iii. Ensure in all circumstances that members of Labris NGO and, more in general, LGBTI rights defenders and organisations are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into all acts of violence against members of Labris NGO and, more in general, against LGBTI rights defenders in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal sanctions provided by the law;

v. Drop the bill criminalising LGBTI rights defenders and organisations;

vi. Conform with the provisions of the Kyrgyz Constitution that entitles each citizen a right to equal treatment and the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association;

vii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on December 9, 1998, especially:
· Its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
· Its Article 5(b) and (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others “to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups” and “to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”;
· Its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] as provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms and […] to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”;
· Its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

viii. Comply with the Resolution of the UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/22/L.13 on protecting human rights defenders, adopted on March 15, 2013, which “urges States to create a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, in the whole country and in all sectors of society, including by extending support to local human rights defenders”;

ix. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Kyrgyzstan.

Addresses :

· Mr. Almazbek Atambaev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Chuy Ave, 205, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Tel: +996 312 63 91 17, Fax: + 996312626191

· Mr. Melis Turganbayev, Minister of Internal Affairs, Frunze st. 469, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: 0996 312 66 24 50, Fax: + 996312682044 / + 996312623853, email: pressa226@mvd.kg

· Ms. Jyldyz Mambetalieva Jeenbaevna, Minister of Justice, 32 M.Gandi Str., 720010 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 656490 , Fax: +996 (312) 656502, email: jm.26@mail.ru

· Ms. Indira Joldubayeva, General Prosecutor Office, 39 Erkindik Avenue, 720040 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan ,Tel: +996 (312) 663373, Fax: +996 (312) 661734

· State Committee of National Security, Erkindik blvd 70, Bishkek 720040, Kyrgyzstan, Tel: +996 (312) 66 04 75, Fax +996 (312)66 00 24

· Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue Maunoir 26/Rue du Lac 4-6, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland, Email: kyrgyzmission@bluewin.ch, Fax: +41 22 707.92.21

· Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Brussels, 47 rue de l’Abbaye, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640 18 68 / + 32 2 640 38 83, Fax: + 32 2 640 01 31, Email: aitmatov@infonie.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Kyrgyzstan in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, May 21, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Solidarity] Harassment and Assaults of Activists Continue in Vietnam Amidst Flurry of International Visits -Civil Rights Defenders

Harassment and Assaults of Activists Continue in Vietnam Amidst Flurry of International Visits
21 May 2015

In the first five months of 2015, assaults and harassment of activists and bloggers continue with almost absolute impunity in Vietnam. At least 27 petitioners, activists and bloggers, including 6 women, have been violently attacked and injured since January (see timeline below). So far, the Vietnamese leaders have failed to address crimes perpetrated against people who carry out legitimate human rights work.

In a briefing paper released in April, Civil Rights Defenders highlighted the risks facing bloggers and other activists, including criminal prosecution, physical attacks, harassment and surveillance, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. Imprisoned activists also suffer from mistreatment in prison and, in response, at times go on hunger strikes to demand better treatment. Local human rights monitors have documented at least 70 activists who are allegedly put on a government blacklist and prohibited from overseas travel.

Since January, Vietnam has held two bilateral human rights dialogues, hosted a summit of world parliamentarians and is negotiating a major free trade agreement with the United States. It has made high-level official visits to or received foreign officials from countries that made human rights recommendations to Vietnam in its 2014 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Hanoi tomorrow (22 May) while Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is scheduled to visit the US later this year. The 12th Australia-Vietnam human rights dialogue is due to take place in Canberra this year.

“While Vietnamese officials trot the globe to laud the country’s human rights record, the government is repeatedly failing to take effective action at home to protect activists from brazen attacks and hold perpetrators to account,” said Marie Månson, Human Rights Defenders at Risk Programme Director at Civil Rights Defenders.

Two recent attacks on bloggers took place in broad daylight. At approximately 7:30am on 11 May, a group of assailants attacked blogger and activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen (known online as Anh Chi), as he was driving home after sending his son to school in Hanoi. He sustained injuries to his head and face. In a strong showing of solidarity with Tuyen, numerous supporters changed their social media profile picture to that of a photo of Tuyen with blood streaming down his swollen face after the assault.

A member of the environmental group “For a Green Hanoi,” Tuyen has actively participated in recent peaceful protests against the Hanoi municipal government’s plan to cut down more than 6000 old trees in the city, which has drawn extensive public criticisms.

Thugs attacked another environmental activist and blogger Trinh Anh Tuan (known online as Gio Lang Thang) in the morning of 22 April as Tuan was riding his motorcycle to a market in Hanoi. He alleged the three attackers were plainclothes security officers who recently have been keeping his home under surveillance. He sustained injuries to his head and hands.

The police witnessed some of these attacks and were the alleged perpetrators in others. In many cases where the assailants were unidentified, the victims reported the attack to the police. There has been no evidence to suggest that the police have opened any credible, transparent and thorough investigations into any of these attacks. As a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Vietnam has the duty to effectively investigate alleged violations of rights guaranteed under the Covenant, including the right to liberty and security of the person, and to provide effective remedy.

“If Vietnam is sincerely committed to the rule of law, the government should recognise the important work of human rights defenders and foster an enabling and protective environment so that they can contribute to building a rights-respecting and stable society,” added Marie Månson. “Donor governments should reinforce human rights dialogues and occasional statements with effective, results-oriented measures to benchmark, report on, and press for Vietnam’s implementation of its international human rights obligations and UPR commitments, including protection of human rights defenders and the civil society space.”

In its April 2015 briefing paper, Civil Rights Defenders makes a number of recommendations to the Government of Vietnam and world governments:

Click to access We-will-not-be-silenced.pdf

Timeline of international engagement with Vietnam and harassment and assaults of activists in 2015: http://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/files/Timeline.pdf

***

For further information please email or call Ms Miriam Nordfors at miriam.nordfors@civilrightsdefenders.org or +46 76 576 27 62.
***

Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation with headquarters in Sweden. We defend people’s civil and political rights and empower human rights defenders at risk worldwide.
Homepage: http://www.civilrightsdefenders.org/region/southeast-asia/

Twitter: @crdefenders

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/civilrightsdefenders

Bambuser: http://bambuser.com/channel/civilrightsdefenders

Instagram: http://instagram.com/crdefenders

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[International] Laos: Pledge Action on Rights, Stop ‘Disappearances’ -HRW

Laos: Pledge Action on Rights, Stop ‘Disappearances’
UN Review Opportunity for Progress, Answers on Sombath Somphone

(Geneva, January 19, 2015) – The government of Laos should use the United Nations Human Rights Council review of its record to pledge concrete measures to address its pervasive human rights problems, Human Rights Watch said today.

200px-Hrw_logo.svg

Laos will appear for the country’s second Universal Periodic Review on January 20, 2015, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a June 2014 submission to the council, Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the enforced disappearance of civil society leader Sombath Somphone, severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms to expression and assembly, the denial of labor rights, and abusive drug detention centers.

“The lack of progress in the disappearance of a leading activist is sadly emblematic of the Lao government’s failure take action on a wide range of serious human rights problems,” said Philippe Dam, acting Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “UN member countries should make clear their dissatisfaction with Laos’ inaction and insist upon genuine reform.”

Lao authorities’ have not made progress in the enforced disappearance of prominent civil society leader and Magsaysay award winner Sombath Somphone in Vientiane in December 2012. Although closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage captured him being apprehended at a police checkpoint, Lao authorities have recently claimed someone other than Sombath was shown being driven away. They continue to refuse offers of technical assistance from governments to assess the video footage or provide other investigative support. Civil society activists told Human Rights Watch that the Sombath case has had a severe chilling effect on activism in Laos, which has made them fear raising the case with the authorities.

Laos also has not taken significant steps to meet commitments the government made during its first Universal Periodic Review in 2010, Human Rights Watch said. The government has failed to end severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and the media, association, and peaceful assembly. A decree on the Internet adopted in September 2014 sharply limits the types of information that can be shared—including “false information” about the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, or any information the government finds “distorts truth or tarnishes the dignity and rights of individuals, sectors, institutions and organizations.” The government has long controlled all newspapers, television, and radio in the country, and bars media reporting if it considers it contrary to undefined “national interests” or “traditional culture and dignity.” People taking part in unauthorized public protests have been sentenced to long prison terms.

Workers are prohibited from establishing or joining a trade union of their own choosing since all unions must be part of the government-controlled Lao Federation of Trade Unions. They are also unable to exercise their right to strike because of restrictions in labor law and authorities’ proven willingness to forcibly break up workers’ protests.

The Lao government maintains a system of drug detention centers where detainees are held for months and sometimes years without a court ruling, judicial oversight, or an appeal mechanism. Human Rights Watch found that detainees at the Somsanga center outside Vientiane received little effective medical treatment, and were instead locked in cells inside barbed wire compounds, and subjected to beatings.

“The Lao government has a long record of using enforced disappearances, oppressive laws, and long prison terms to silence its critics,” Dam said. “Governments should use the opportunity of UN review of Laos to make clear they stand with ordinary citizens against the abuses by unaccountable Lao officials.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Laos, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/laos

For more information, please contact:
In Geneva, Philippe Dam (English): +41 76 413 35 36 (mobile); or damp@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @Philippe_Dam
In Bangkok, Phil Robertson (English, Thai): +66-85-060-8406 (mobile); or robertp@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @Reaproy
In San Francisco, Brad Adams (English): +1-347-463-3531 (mobile); or adamsb@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @BradAdamsHRW
In Washington, DC, John Sifton (English): +1-646-479-2499 (mobile); or siftonj@hrw.org. Follow on Twitter @johnsifton

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Campaign] Justice for the 43 Mexican Students! -AFAD

Justice for the 43 Mexican Students

We request fellow advocates to use this photo as (facebook) profile pic to show solidarity with our allies in Mexico. AFAD reiterates its call for justice with the following statement originally released on November 10, a month before the International Human Rights Day.

Justice for the 43 students!!!

AFAD

###
http://www.afad-online.org/…/215-justice-for-the-43-mexican…

“Justice for the 43 Mexican Students! (Justicia para los 43 estudiantes mexicanos!)”

On September 26, a group of students travelling to Mexico City was attacked by police forces in the southern state of Guerrero. The incident left 6 dead and 43 missing. More than 40 days after the disappearance of the students, suspected gang members confessed to killing the missing students. Members of the said gang admitted to burning the bodies for 15 hours and throwing the remains in a nearby river.

This tragedy puts yet another punctuation mark on Mexico’s long history of human rights violations. It can only by presumed what kind of torture these students were exposed to after they were abducted and before they were handed over to the Guerreros Unidos cartel to be massacred. Hence, in one tragic incident, the Mexican state is potentially responsible for Enforced Disappearance, Extra-Judicial Killings, and possibly, Torture.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) condemns this human rights atrocity!

AFAD reminds the Mexican government that it has signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPAPED). Thus, it is under obligation to “take the necessary measures to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offence under its criminal law” (ICPAPED Art. 4). AFAD calls on the Mexican government to bring the perpetrators to justice by serving the strongest possible conviction.

Furthermore, the Mexican government must affirm “the right of any victim to know the truth about the circumstances of an enforced disappearance and the fate of the disappeared person, and the right to freedom to seek, receive and impart information to this end” (ICPAPED Preamble). AFAD calls on the Mexican government to bring peace to the families of the victims by ensuring that DNA confirmatory tests are expedited within the soonest possible time and that further steps to ferret out the truth and provide justice be done without delay.

With exactly a month before international human rights day, may this be a reminder that the struggle to end the culture of impunity across the globe is far from over. Now that in Mexico, the expression “Ya me cansé del miedo” (Enough, I am tired of being afraid) has been adopted, we, AFAD members, declare that we are also tired of human rights violations. But no matter how tiresome the struggle, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mexico.

Justice to the 43 students! Justice to all victims of enforced disappearances!

Signed by:
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-General

[Around the World] Cambodia : Sentence of 2 former Khmer Rouge leaders to life imprisonment is historic -FIDH

Cambodia : Sentence of 2 former Khmer Rouge leaders to life imprisonment is historic

FIDH and ADHOC, welcome the ECCC landmark decision condemning Khieu Samphan, former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, and Nuon Chea, former President of the Assembly of People’s Representatives of Democratic Kampuchea and ideologist of the Khmer Rouge regime, to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity related to forced movements of population and the execution of former Khmer Republic soldiers and officials.

fidh

It is the first time that high-ranking officials of the Khmer Rouge regime are convicted by an independent Court. The ECCC trial judges also decided to order collective measures of reparation for Civil Parties.

“Although this decision is issued almost 40 years after the Khmer Rouge crimes, it is a historic victory for Civil Parties”, said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and Civil Parties lawyer. “We hope this decision will contribute to the Cambodian society’s work towards sustainable peace and independent justice”, added Mr. Baudouin.

“Now that the high-ranking officials of the Khmer Rouge regime have been found guilty, we will finally be able to mourn our relatives”, declared Civil Parties from France represented by FIDH, who attended the verdict hearing today. “It was important for us to see those who planned and ordered these crimes be held to account”, they added.

“The decision issued by the Trial Chamber of the ECCC represents an important step against the impunity of former Khmer Rouge high-ranking officials. It is also a positive message for younger generations that these crimes cannot go unpunished”, said Latt Ky, ADHOC representative.

Read full article @ www.fidh.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[PR/Solidarity] Vietnam: Blogger Pham Viet Dao sentenced to 15 months in prison -FIDH,VCHR

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
VCHR – Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
Joint press release

Vietnam: Blogger Pham Viet Dao sentenced to 15 months in prison

Paris, 19 March 2014 – FIDH and its member organization, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), strongly condemn the 15-month prison sentence imposed today on blogger Pham Viet Dao. A court in Hanoi sentenced him under Article 258 of the Criminal Code on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms to harm the interests of the State” for posting online articles that “distorted, vilified, and smeared the senior leaders.”

fidh

“The imprisonment of Pham Viet Dao once again calls into question the Vietnamese government’s stated commitment to respecting human rights. In fact, Vietnam continues to behave as an authoritarian government that perceives every freedom, including freedom of opinion and expression, as a threat to its rule,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “Vietnam must end the harassment, arrest, and imprisonment of dissidents and immediately release the more than 200 political prisoners it holds,” Mr. Lahidji added.

Pham Viet Dao, 62, is a former Inspector in charge of corruption issues in the Ministry of Culture. He is also a member of the Vietnam Writers Union. After his retirement, Pham Viet Dao started an internet blog critical of Vietnamese government leaders and their policies with a focus on the ongoing territorial disputes with China. Pham Viet Dao was arrested on 13 June 2013 at his home in Hanoi. Analysts deemed his arrest, which took place six days before Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang made an official visit to China, as a gesture of friendship to Beijing.

Pham Viet Dao is the latest blogger to be imprisoned under Article 258 of the Criminal Code. On 4 March, a court in Danang sentenced blogger and human rights defender Truong Duy Nhat to two years in prison under the same law for posting articles online that were critical of the government.

“Vietnam currently holds the largest number of political prisoners in Southeast Asia and its press freedom ranking is the lowest in the region,” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai. “The international community must keep the release of political prisoners and the amendment of draconian legislation as its most urgent and pressing issue whenever it interacts with the Vietnamese government,” he urged.

It is estimated that there are over 200 political prisoners behind bars in Vietnam and many more are under house arrest. Those incarcerated include lawyers, bloggers, land rights activists, Buddhist monks, journalists, writers, singers, labor activists, pro-democracy campaigners and members of ethnic and religious minorities, including Buddhist Khmer Krom and Christian Hmong and Montagnards.

Press contacts:
Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33 6 72 28 42 94 (in Paris)
Audrey Couprie (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33 6 48 05 91 57 (in Paris)

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Solidarity] Malaysia: Sedition Act Conviction of Karpal Singh Condemned -Forum-Asia

Malaysia: Sedition Act Conviction of Karpal Singh Condemned
Asian Human Rights Group Calls for the Immediate Repeal of the Draconian Law

(Bangkok, 11 March 2014): The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), a Bangkok-based regional human rights NGO with 47 member organisations in 16 Asian countries, joined the chorus of domestic and international condemnation of the conviction of opposition party leader and Member of Parliament, Karpal Singh, who was sentenced to a RM4,000 fine (approx. USD1,250) today. The High Court ruling could result in the disqualification of Karpal Singh as a Member of Parliament should the Court of Appeals and Federal Court uphold this decision.

ForumAsia Logo

Karpal Singh was found guilty for a remark made during a press conference in 2009, where he expressed his legal opinion that the Sultan of the state of Perak could be legally challenged for his decision in removing the then-incumbent Menteri Besar during the political crisis in the state. The colonial era Sedition Act, enacted in 1948, criminalises speeches with “sedition tendency”, an offence punishable by a maxium three-year jail term and a fine of RM5,000.

The regional human rights group viewed the High Court’s decision as part of an ongoing systematic crackdown on dissent in Malaysia. On 7 March 2014, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to a five-year jail term by the Court of Appeals, overturning an earlier decision by the High Court to acquit Anwar of sodomy charges.

“The conviction and sentencing of Karpal Singh appears to be politically-motivated and part of an ongoing systematic persecution by the Malaysian government aimed at silencing opposition and dissent. In addition to Karpal, at least seven other political activists and opposition leaders have charges under the Sedition Act pending against them,” said Evelyn Balais-Serrano, FORUM-ASIA’s executive director.

The conviction of Karpal Singh has already raised serious concerns from both at the domestic and international levels, including by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who on 7 March 2014 urged the Malaysian government to review the conviction and repeal the Sedition Act.

FORUM-ASIA has repeatedly called on the Malaysian government to repeal the Act, which it describes as “draconian, outdated, and fraught with vague provisions that seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression under international human rights law”. Najib Razak, the current Prime Minister, had in 2012 pledged to repeal the Sedition Act.

“The Prime Minister’s pledge in 2012 to repeal the Sedition Act as part of his purported reforms was indeed an implicit admission of the draconian nature of the Act. To now not only renege on his promise by failing to repeal the Act, but to actually increase the use of this law against opposition leaders, human rights defenders and activists reveals the farce of his so-called reforms,” said Balais-Serrano.

“We thus reiterate our strongest call to the Malaysian government to immediately repeal the Sedition Act. In the meantime, all charges and convictions under the Act must be dropped and quashed. Anything short of this will further worsen the already tarnished human rights record of the Malaysian government, and in particular the leadership of Najib Razak,” stressed Balais-Serrano.

For inquiries, please contact:
· John Liu, East Asia Programme Officer, johnliu@forum-asia.org, +66802828610
· Sayeed Ahmad, Country Programme Manager, sayeed@forum-asia.org, +66842176150

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Campaign/Solidarity] The Day We Fight Back -EFF

Screen grabbed from The Day We Fight Back site

Screen grabbed from The Day We Fight Back site

The Day We Fight Back

DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,

In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.

In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of it’s leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. And if we persist, eventually win this fight, together.

Read full article @thedaywefightback.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Appeal/Solidarity] Odhikar calls all International Human Rights Defenders to stand next to it as it fights oppression and barriers to its activities

Odhikar calls all International Human Rights Defenders to stand next to it as it fights oppression and barriers to its activities.
January 14, 2014

Odhikar and human rights defenders who are associated with Odhikar are under constant surveillance by the intelligence agencies due to their human rights – related activities in Bangladesh. The movement of the Secretary of the Organisation, Adilur Rahman Khan, who is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, is under constant watch by the Special Branch of Police (SB).Furthermore, human rights defenders who are associated with Odhikar across the country are also under monitoring by the intelligence agencies. This has been increased after the re-assuming of power by the Awami League through debatable Parliamentary elections on January 5, 2014; which were held without the participation of the main Opposition.

odhikar

On January 8, 2014 the Cyber Crimes Tribunal framed charges against Odhikar’s Secretary Advocate Adilur Rahman Khan and Director ASM Nasiruddin Elan under the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (amended in 2009) for publishing a fact finding report on extrajudicial killings perpetrated by law enforcement agencies during the assembly and rally of Hefazate Islam on May 5-6, 2013. On that day the Tribunal Judge K M Shamsul Alam framed charges before starting the hearing of the defense council, which is contrary to law; although the defense lawyers were later allowed to place their arguments after they demanded the right to be heard. However, the order for framing charges, before hearing the defense, questions the trial process. The Tribunal fixed the date for prosecution of witnesses on January 22, 2014.

Apart from this case, the Government is harassing Odhikar in different ways. The NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB), which is under the Prime Minister’s Office is putting barriers on releasing funds for the projects related to human rights which are already approved by the NGOAB. The Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act, 2012, still in the form of a Bill yet to be approved by Parliament, was developed by amending the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Ordinance, 1978 (XLVI of 1978) and integrating the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Ordinance, 1982 (XXXI of 1982) with it. The NGOAB is imposing the proposed law on Odhikar even before it has been enacted as an Act.

Moreover, on January 1, 2014, the Assignment Officer of the NGOAB, Khandker Mohammad Nazmul Huda Shamim has been assigned by the Bureau to investigate the activities under three of Odhikar’s NGOAB-approved projects. Odhikar received a letter from the NGOAB on January 7, 2014; and the letter clearly states that Khandker Mohammad Nazmul Huda Shamim has been
assigned only to see three, named projects. Despite this NGOAB order, he is investigating matters relating to the reserve and general funds of Odhikar, which has no relation to any foreign funds or project; and are therefore beyond his jurisdiction. His interference in this is, therefore, illegal. It appears that the government is harassing Odhikar to cancel its registration or to make uncertain the renewal process of the registration due in September 2014. Stopping one of Bangladesh’s most active human rights organisations, indicates that the government would like to gag dissenting voices so that no one will be able to protest against human rights violations by the State. This is the first time in 19 years that Odhikar and those who belong to this movement, have been treated in such an extreme manner; despite the fact that the Organisation has been equally active against human rights violations during all regimes.

Odhikar has been playing a significant role in protecting human rights in Bangladesh since its inception on October 10, 1994. Odhikar is under threats and intimidation by the State due to its commitment to the human rights movement. Odhikar seeks urgent interventions from the international human rights organisations to help in stopping the unlawful pressure on Odhikar from the Bangladesh Government. Odhikar also urges the international community to create public opinion around the world, raising these issues in the UN Human Rights Council; urging the Government to withdraw the case filed against Adilur Rahman Khan and ASM Nasiruddin Elan under the ICT Act; ensure the safety and security of Odhikar and all human rights defenders; and to repeal the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (amended in 2013), which is contradictory to the freedom of speech and expression.

The Odhikar Team
Tel: 9888587, Fax: 9886208, Email: odhikar.bd@gmail.com, Website: http://www.odhikar.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and
original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and
byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Solidarity] Open Letter by 47 Asian NGOs to Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia – Forum Asia

7 January 2014

Open Letter by 47 Asian NGOs to Prime Minister Hun Sen:
Stop Violent Crackdown of Protests, Release All Detained Protestors

Your Excellency,

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), together with its 47 member organisations from 16 countries across Asia, writes to you to register our strongest protest against the Cambodian government’s recent series of violent suppression of public assemblies, including one which resulted in the fatal shooting of at least four individuals and scores severely wounded on 3 January 2014, as well as the ongoing judicial harassment against opposition leaders and human rights defenders, and the continued detention of at least 23 individuals whose whereabouts remain unknown.

ForumAsia Logo

We strongly condemn the excessive use of force by the authorities that resulted in the deaths of at least four individuals during the 3 January protest by garment workers demanding better wages. Under international human rights law, firearms shall not be used except under strict circumstances such as in defending others against “the imminent threat of death or serious injury”, and “only when less extreme means are insufficient”. Even in the event of such exceptional circumstances, restraint must be exercised and the principle of proportionality must be observed. We strongly call on your government to ensure that all law enforcement personnel act in accordance with international human rights norms and standards when regulating public assemblies, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. The government must ensure immediate independent and transparent investigations and take swift action to hold those responsible accountable.

We also call for immediate information about the fate and whereabouts of the 23 individuals who were arrested on 2 and 3 January. We are deeply concerned that the authorities have continued to refuse to disclose the location of their detention. Some of these detainees have sustained injuries during their arrest and are in urgent need of medical attention. Despite this, their families, medical professionals and lawyers have been denied any information about their whereabouts and health conditions.

We further deplore the violent dispersal of another anti-government demonstration by about 1,000 people in central Phnom Penh on 4 January 2014, and regret the temporary arrest of five women human rights defenders from the Boeung Kak Lake community on 6 January 2014. The five were arrested as they prepared to protest for the release of other imprisoned human rights defenders, and were released on conditions on the same day after being made to sign documents that compel them to notify the authorities of their future involvement in any protests. We object to the imposition of conditions on the release of the five, and call on the rescinding of such restrictive conditions.

It has also come to our attention that two leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, and one union leader, Rong Chhun, from Cambodia Independent Teachers Association (CITA) and Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCFU) have been summoned to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning on 14 January 2014 at 10AM in relation to their purported involvement in inciting the recent protests. We urge your government to stop the ongoing judicial harassment against opposition leaders and human rights defenders.

We further urge your government to revoke the blanket ban on all public assemblies in Phnom Penh as it violates the fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, which is guaranteed under the Cambodian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Cambodia is party. It is our view that the continued suppression of peaceful dissent, including through the ban and violent crackdown on public assemblies, will only serve to further fuel discontentment, which will most certainly exacerbate political tensions and social unrest in the country.

We thus strongly urge the government of Cambodia to:

1) Immediately reveal the whereabouts of the 23 detained to ensure that they have access to their families, lawyers and medical professionals. Anyone who is detained solely for peacefully protesting must be released immediately and unconditionally.

2) Stop the ongoing judicial harassment against opposition leaders and human rights defenders, withdraw charges against all individuals in relation to recent protests, and rescind conditions imposed upon the five women human rights defenders from the Boeung Kak Lake community.

3) Immediately retract the blanket ban imposed on all public assemblies and protests in Phnom Penh.

4) Ensure independent and transparent investigations on the indiscriminate use of live ammunition against protestors on 3 January 2014 and that swift action is taken to hold those responsible for the deaths and injuries accountable. Earlier incidences of fatalities caused by the use of firearms by the authorities in the context of protests and public assemblies, including the incidents on 15 September 2013 and 12 November 2013 must also be investigated swiftly with the view of holding the perpetrators fully accountable.

5) Ensure that all law enforcement personnel comply with international human rights norms and standards in regulating public assemblies, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

Yours truly,

Evelyn Balais-Serrano
Executive Director, FORUM-ASIA
Tel: +66 (0)2 637 9126-7 Fax: +66 (0)2 637 9128
Email: easia@forum-asia.org Website: http://www.forum-asia.org

On Behalf of the following member organizations of FORUM-ASIA:

Bangladesh
Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)
Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA)
Odhikar
Resource Integration Center (RIC)

Burma/Myanmar
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)

Cambodia
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)

India
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
Center for Social Action Documentation Research & Training (ADHIKAR)
Dalit Foundation
Friends’ Association for Rural Reconstruction (FARR)
People’s Watch
People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
Rural Development Society (RDS-LRSA)
South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM)

Indonesia
Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia (AJI)
Federation of Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)
Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI)
Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy – Human Rights Working Group (HRWG)
Inisiatif Masyarakat Partisipatif untuk Transisi Berkeadilan (IMPARSIAL)
Yayasan Sekretariat Anak Merdeka Indonesia (SAMIN)

Malaysia
Education and Research Association for Consumers (ERA Consumer)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Mongolia
Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)
Globe International

Nepal
Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC)
Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC)
Women’s Welfare Society (WWS)

Pakistan
Bytes for All (ICTs for development, democracy and social justice)
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP)
Potahar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA)
Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC)

Philippines
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
PILIPINA Legal Resources Center (PLRC)
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
Tanggol-Kalikasan – Public Interest Environmental Law Office

Singapore
Think Centre

South Korea
Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS)
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)

Sri Lanka
Information Monitor (INFORM)
Law and Society Trust (LST)

Taiwan
Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR)

Thailand
People’s Empowerment

Timor Leste
Perkumpulan Hukum, Hak Asasi dan Keadilan (Law, Basic Rights, and Justice Foundation) (HAK Association)
Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Sombath Somphone one year on: 62 NGOs call for a new investigation into his enforced disappearance. -FIDH

Sombath Somphone one year on: 62 NGOs call for a new investigation into his enforced disappearance
December 13, 2013

We, the undersigned 62 regional and international organizations, express outrage over the Lao Government’s ongoing failure to shed light on the enforced disappearance of prominent activist and civil society leader Sombath Somphone.

sombath_somphone

December 15, 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was last seen on the evening of December 15, 2012 in Vientiane. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that police stopped Sombath’s car at a police post. Within minutes after being stopped, unknown individuals forced him into another vehicle and drove away. Analysis of the CCTV footage shows that Sombath was taken away in the presence of police officers. This fact supports a finding of government complicity.

Despite the Lao Government’s pledge to “thoroughly and seriously” investigate Sombath’s disappearance [1], the authorities’ probe has been inadequate and unproductive. On January 18, 2013, 65 NGOs signed a joint letter to Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong to express their concern over Sombath’s disappearance. Since then and in spite of widespread international calls for his return, including from the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) parliamentarians, the USA and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sombath’s whereabouts remain unknown and there has been no progress in the investigation into the circumstances of his enforced disappearance. In addition, the authorities have rejected offers of technical assistance to analyze the CCTV footage.

For the past 30 years, Sombath has pushed tirelessly for expansion for civil society space and rights of the rural poor and young people to have a voice in the development of Lao society and governance. Shortly before his disappearance, Sombath played a key role in organising the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), a civil society forum that preceded the official Asia-Europe Summit Meeting. At the forum, discussions on land and water issues, and poorly regulated FDIs which threatened people’s livelihoods were discussed openly for the first time in Laos.

Sombath’s enforced disappearance is not an isolated incident. To this day, the whereabouts of nine people, two women, Kingkeo and Somchit, as well as seven men, Soubinh, Souane, Sinpasong, Khamsone, Nou, Somkhit, and Sourigna, arbitrarily detained by Lao security forces in November 2009 in various locations across the country remain unknown. The nine had planned peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy and respect of human rights. Also unknown are the whereabouts of Somphone Khantisouk, the owner of an ecotourism guesthouse and an outspoken critic of Chinese-sponsored agricultural projects that were damaging the environment in the northern province of Luang Namtha. He disappeared after uniformed men abducted him in January 2007.

The Lao Government’s failure to undertake proper investigations into all these cases of enforced disappearances violates its obligations under Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Laos is a State party. The ICCPR states that governments must provide an “effective remedy” for violations of rights guaranteed by the Covenant, including the right to liberty and security of person.

Read full article @fidh.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Solidarity] Arrest of Odhikar Director, a new step in persecution of prominent human rights organisation -the Observatory

BANGLADESH: Arrest of Odhikar Director, a new step in persecution of prominent human rights organisation

Geneva-Paris, November 6, 2013. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, express their deep concern as Mr. ASM Nasiruddin Elan, the Director of the prominent human rights non-governmental organisation Odhikar, was sent to jail today after he appeared before the Dhaka Cyber Crimes Tribunal.

OBS1

Today, Mr. ASM Nasiruddin Elan, Director of Odhikar, and his lawyers appeared before the Dhaka Cyber Crimes Tribunal and appealed for bail in a case filed by the Government under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, 2006 (amended in 2009) and under Sections 505 and 505A of the Penal Code, in relation to a fact-finding report issued by Odhikar on the killing of 61 people during an operation carried out on May 5-6, 2013 by security forces against Hefazat-e Islam activists in Dhaka. At 12:20 in the afternoon Judge Shamsul Alam rejected the plea for bail and ordered that Mr. Elan be arrested and taken to Dhaka Central Jail.

“The arrest order by the specially set up Cyber Crimes Tribunal on the basis of vaguely defined crimes under the ICT Act is appalling and we are very concerned for the safety and physical integrity of Mr. Elan in detention”, said today Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of OMCT. “Publishing human rights reports even if their conclusions may be contested or unpleasant for the authorities is not a crime ”, he added.

“We call upon the authorities of Bangladesh to release Mr. Elan immediately and unconditionally”, said Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH. “It is time to return to the rule of law, ensuring that the ICT Act is revised and applied in a manner compliant with international human rights law”, he added.

On September 4, 2013 Mr. ASM Nasiruddin Elan and Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of Odhikar and a member of OMCT General Assembly, were accused of allegedly “distorting images by using photo shop and publishing a fabricated report, which enraged public sentiment”, in relation to Odhikar above-mentioned report. If found guilty, they might face up to 14 years in jail or Tk 10,000,000 (about 93,660 €) fine under the ICT Act and seven years’ jail term under the Penal Code.

The Observatory considers the prosecution against Messrs. Nasiruddin Elan and Adilur Rahman Khan as arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning and preventing their activities as human rights defenders, therefore contradicting international human rights standards and Bangladesh’s obligations. Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the authorities of Bangladesh to put an end to any harassment against Odhikar and its members.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Khan was arbitrarily detained from August 10, 2013 to October 11, 2013, when he was finally released on bail, after spending more than two months in Kashimpur prison. On September 11, 2013, the Cyber Crimes Tribunal issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Nasiruddin Elan, who was granted an order of “no arrest or harassment” for four weeks from the High Court Division of the Supreme Court on October 10, 2013.

In addition, on October 21, 2013, Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan appeared before the Cyber Crime Tribunal, where the Tribunal Judge fixed the next date of hearing on November 10, 2013 and asked Odhikar’s lawyers at the time to ensure the presence of Mr. Nasiruddin Elan at that hearing.

More generally, the Observatory calls upon the authorities in Bangladesh to ensure full respect for the rights set forth in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

For more information, please contact:
· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39
· FIDH: Audrey Couprie/Arthur Manet: +33 1 43 55 25 18

[Solidarity] The other Cambodia: Indigenous People’s Land and Rights

The NGO Forum on Cambodia launched a riveting new video on the issues faced by Indigenous communities over land rights.

The video is titled “The other Cambodia: Indigenous People’s Land and Rights”.

Indigenous communities are very vulnerable to commercial and state interests which are increasingly attracted to exploiting the economic potential of the forests and upland areas of their homelands. Their livelihoods have become very precarious as hydropower, mining developments and Economic Land Concessions strip the forests and destroy their capacity to extract a living from the land resources.

There are 24 groups of Indigenous Peoples scattered over 15 provinces of Cambodia. They are concentrated in the four northeastern provinces of country and the video focusses on Ratanakiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces. It shows in detail how their livelihoods are being destroyed by unchecked development.

The lack of enforcement of existing laws, especially the Land Law of 2001 and subsequent policies and sub-decrees has severely undermined the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples. NGO Forum works continually with these communities and the Government to try and improve their situation. This video has been made to raise public awareness of their plight, and the need to enforce existing laws and improve Government directives, to increase the awarding of community land titles and protect their forest livelihoods from complete destruction. The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2AsLch2yGA.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement/Solidarity] Attorney General plays key role to deny Adilur’s bail granted by High Court-AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

AHRC-STM-180-2013
October 9, 2013

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

BANGLADESH: Attorney General plays key role to deny Adilur’s bail granted by High Court

Bangladeshis authorities are trying to block the process of releasing the human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan, today, October 9, 2013.

Asian Human Rights Commission

A Division Bench of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh granted six months interim bail to Adilur Rahman Khan yesterday, 8 October 2013. Nearly after two months since the detention started on 10 August 10 the High Court has granted bail following rejection of the bail petitions by the Magistrate’s Court once and Cyber Crimes Tribunal twice respectively. The Court passed this order after hearing Adilur’s petition, moved by Supreme Court Bar’s president Barrister AJ Mohammad Ali, in a Division Bench of the High Court. The Court ordered immediate release of Adilur, as there is no other case against him, asking the order should be served to the prison authorities by special messenger. It also directed the government and the police to explain why Adilur would not be granted regular bail.

Adilur was expected to be released from Kashimpur Central Jail-1 while the process of sending the Court’s order was in progress amidst rumours and suspicion that the authorities may re-arrest him in fresh fabricated cases, as there is such culture of re-arresting targeted persons in front of the gates of the prisons immediately after their release.

Today, in the afternoon, in less than 24 hours since the High Court granted bail to Adilur, the Office of the Attorney General has challenged yesterday’s bail order before the Bench of the Chamber Judge of the Supreme Court. The Attorney General requested the Chamber Judge’s Bench to stay the High Court’s order, however, the Court rejected the governmental plea while hearing the matter this afternoon.

The Attorney General’s appeal is part of the governmental strategy to prolong Adilur’s detention.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is aware that the government has amended the Information and Communications Technology Act, 2006, last week, ensuring that the crimes fall under Sections 54, 56, 57 and 61’cognizable’ and ‘non-bailable’ that were ‘non-cognizable’ and ‘bailable’ in the original law, despite the fact that the definitions of the crimes are mostly vague in the legislation. These amendments amount to retrospective legislation.

Constitutionally the Attorney General’s role is to appear for the government of Bangladesh. However, the Attorney General’s Office has been highly politicised and now it represents the wishes of the ruling regime.

The fate of Adilur is still uncertain. The government has established the ‘Cyber Crimes Tribunal’ headed by a Sessions Judge. According to the information received, on the 8th the Cyber Crimes Tribunal judge AKM Shamsul Alam, in the latest hearing, on 25 September, rejected Adilur’s bail petition and ordered to execute the warrant of arrest previously issued against Odhikar’s Director Mr. ASM Nasiruddin Elan. On September 18, the Tribunal, which took the cognizance of charges of committing crimes under Section 57 of the Information and Communications Technology Act, 2006, and Sections 505 (c) and 505A of the Penal Code, 1860, had set the next date of hearing the case for 21 October. However, tomorrow is the last day of court and it will not resume again on 1st November. It seems that the government is trying hard to keep Adilur behind bars so as to strangle the voice of Odhikar before the national elections.

Significantly, a number of prominent lawyers having different political and strategic backgrounds, such as Barrister Sara Hossain and Advocate Sigma Huda (a former UN Special Rapporture on Trafficking of children and women in person), appeared before the Court on behalf of Adilur while the petition was moved by former Attorney General Mr. AJ Mohammad Ali, a barrister.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the civil society organisations in Bangladesh and the diplomatic community to intervene on behalf of Adilur Rahman Khan to ensure his speedy release. We also call upon the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner’s office and the international community to intervene on his behalf.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Solidarity/Campaign] Solidarity with Adil and Odikhar -FIDH

Solidarity with Adil and Odikhar

Adilur-Rahman-Khan_Final_JP

fidh

Dear friends,

Our friend and colleague, Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of Odhikar (FIDH member organization in Bangladesh), whom some of you met at FIDH congress in Istanbul, has been arbitrarily arrested on 10th August, and has since then been detained at Kashimpur Jail in Dhaka.

The arrest took place following the release by Odhikar of a fact-finding report on human rights abuses perpetrated by State security forces during a public rally in May 2013. In the context of upcoming elections, the Bangladeshi authorities are trying to silence human rights organizations such as Odhikar, which denounce human rights violations involving State responsibility.

On 4th September, a court filed charges against Adil, as well as against Odhikar’s Director ASM Nasiruddin Elan, for “distorting images by using photo shop and publishing a fabricated report, which enraged public sentiment”. Adil’s trial will begin on September 12th. His application for bail was rejected today on September 9th.

FIDH calls for Adil’s immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him and Odhikar to be abandoned. We filed in August a complaint with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and issued several urgent appeals with OMCT in the framework of the ‘Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders’. We are now planning, with several partners, an advocacy and solidarity mission to Dhaka.

Adil is in good health and was transfered on 1st September to an individual cell. He is able to meet his wife and colleagues on a regular basis, although he can receive no mail.

To express your solidarity with Adil and Odikhar, we would like to propose you the following actions:

FIDH Asia Desk (asia@fidh.org) remains at your disposal for any further information or support we could provide to support your mobilisation for Adil. While we will send you regular updates, please keep us informed of any actions that you undertake so that we can send Odikhar additional testimony of our solidarity.

We thank you in advance for your action.

Best wishes,
Karim Lahidji

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Int’l/Petition] A Solution for Syria -www.avaaz.org

A Solution for Syria-www.avaaz.org

Photo source avaaz

Avaaz

Dear friends,

Just weeks ago the kids in this image were gassed to death in their sleep. There is one peaceful way to stop these massacres – if Iran and the US sit down to talks and bring the warring parties to the table to get a ceasefire. For the first time the two Presidents are showing dialogue is possible. Let’s tell them the world wants talks to start saving lives now! Sign up:

Sign the petition
Just weeks ago the kids in this image were gassed to death in their sleep, but it feels the world has forgotten them and got stuck in a debate between US strikes or doing nothing. Now there is a glimmer of hope for a peaceful way to stop these massacres.

Syria’s bloody war has been fuelled by rivalry between Iran, Assad‘s main backer, and the US and their allies. But this vile chemical attack has changed their discourse: Iran’s new moderate president condemned the gassing and Obama signalled he’d work with “anybody” to resolve the conflict. Let’s urgently call on both leaders to sit down to talks and bring the warring parties together before any more lives are lost.

Right now, the global drums of war are beating over Syria, but if enough of us make sure Rouhani and Obama know the world wants bold diplomacy, we could end the nightmare for thousands of terrified Syrian children under threat of new gas attacks. We have no time to lose. Click now to join this urgent call — when we reach one million signers we will deliver the petition directly to the two presidents:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/solution_for_syria_loc/?bSItwcb&v=28858

Syria’s the most brutal war of our generation, and this chemical attack on innocent civilians is the worst our world has seen in 30 years. The world has a responsibility to protect Syrians from extermination, but for two years the international community has been shamefully gridlocked and has failed the innocent victims. Now, despite overwhelming evidence that Assad’s forces launched the attack, Syria’s backers have sown doubt and, wary of war, the world is unsure about a humanitarian intervention. These talks are a new chance to stop the bloodshed.

It’s always been believed that the US would never talk to Iran and that Iran would never help the US solve the Syrian crisis, but current evidence points to change and hope. President Obama may launch strikes, but he has no public support for a longer war, and he is looking for a way out of a sustained conflict. And 130 members of the US Congress are calling on President Obama to talk with Iran. A massive global public push for diplomacy right now could push Obama towards talks.

Iran’s former President Ahmadinejad spent billions supplying cash and weapons to the Assad regime. But the new President Rouhani was elected on a ticket to build bridges with the West and favours a political settlement with the Syrian opposition. The chemical attack is eroding Iranian public support for Assad, rekindling painful memories of Iraq’s gas attacks on Iran, and insiders say pressure is building to reconsider Iran’s support for Assad. This could be a tipping point to bring Rouhani to the table.

Talks won’t stop the horror overnight, but there is no quick and easy solution. We urgently need to get started on a path that can stop the killing of innocent children and bring the world closer together rather than tear us further apart. Let’s get the US and Iran to start talks now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/solution_for_syria_loc/?bSItwcb&v=28858

A roadmap has already been put in motion for a Syrian peace process in Geneva, but this is the first time there could be the political will to overlook all the differences and sit down. Iran is the only country in the world with sufficient influence in Syria to push the regime to the table. And the US, with its Middle East allies, can push the opposition to sit down.

It took the horror of the Second World War to get the United Nations and the Declaration of Human Rights. Maybe the horror of Syria might finally push the US and Iran, and their moderate presidents, to address longstanding differences and build the basis for a more lasting peace for Syria and the region, with consequences for a host of global issues from nuclear proliferation to peace in Israel and Palestine. Our community has stood by the Syrian people from the very beginning. Now they need us more than ever. Let’s give it our best shot.

With hope,

Alice, Luis, Ian, Emily, Bissan, Antonia, Ricken, Lisa, Mais and the whole Avaaz team

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

« Older Entries