PAKISTAN: No law or code of conduct against the torture that terms it as illegal practice

Malik Ayub Sumbal, Islamabad The notorious Pakistani police torture and violence towards innocent people is not a concealed aspect of the country’s history and the media, civil society activists and human rights organization time and again unveiled the brutal face of these beasts in the police uniform. The Pakistani police is among the most corrupt […]

SRI LANKA: Fighting together against unlawful acts of lawful authorities

Basil Fernando For the last 20 years I have been living in Hong Kong. Here over 98% of the population is Chinese. I belong to the small minority which includes many other races and will try to illustrate some issues by using this experience. In any country there is a formal legal system and an […]

WORLD: The MDG-HR nexus – Need to understand deprivation of civil rights as a cause of poverty

(Some thoughts based on experience in Asia)-   Basil Fernando, Director Policy and Programmes, Asian Legal Resource Centre and Asian Human Rights Commission  This is a summary of a paper submitted to GETTING THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS RIGHT – Towards the founding of an operational framework for the MDG-HR Nexus organized by The Danish Institute for Human Rights […]

WORLD: The major changes in the human rights/international justice field over the last 5-10 years

Article | World | 28-01-2011

Basil Fernando There have been a number of developments in the human rights and international justice fields over the past 5-10 years. However, some very serious problems in the field of human rights and international justice have concurrently arisen. In the human rights field, the founding of the international criminal court was a great achievement. […]

PHILIPPINES: Defects in legal practice and legal aid for the poor

FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ART-010-2011 January 27, 2011 An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission PHILIPPINES: Defects in legal practice and legal aid for the poor Correspondence with a public attorney exposed the country’s defect in legal practice and legal aid OVERVIEW: On October 12, 2010, the AHRC wrote to Ms. Persida Acosta, the chairperson of […]

SRI LANKA: The anniversary of Prageeth’s disappearance and the Galle Arts Festival — Asian Human Rights Commission

Basil Fernando Prageeth Eknaligoda’s wife and a small group of faithful supporters met representatives of the United Nations yesterday on the occasion of the first anniversary of Prageeth’s disappearance. That the family had to meet representatives of the United Nations and not representatives of the Sri Lankan state is symbolic. It is after any hope […]

SRI LANKA: Views and reflection on the police system’s collapse through the eyes of women

Alarmingly as it may be, it is now a well-known fact that lawlessness has spread to all aspects of public as well as official life in Sri Lanka. The critical role played by the police system is further recognized as being one of the principal factors causing this situation. The failures in the system are […]

SRI LANKA: Without Witness and Victim Protection Legislation, No Hope for Restoration of Justice in Sri Lanka

In November 2010, in Hatton, Sri Lanka, Devarathnam Yogendra cooperated with the Bribery Commission to catch police officer IP Wijesuriya accepting bribes. A representative from the Bribery Commission watched as Wijesuriya accepted a bribe, then arrested him on charges of bribery (Case No.: 50600/01 in the Chief Magistrate’s Court of Colombo). Now Yogendra is being […]

SRI LANKA: Police torture as an indicator of the constitutional degradation of the Rule of Law

Sofie Rordam Sri Lankan citizens are protected against torture and arbitrary arrest in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. In addition Sri Lanka has ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Cruel and Inhuman Treatment in 1994. While the legislation is there, the effectuation is not. The gap between […]

SRI LANKA: Two years after the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge — the failure to investigate caused by the police/political nexus

Basil Fernando Two years have passed since one of the most infamous assassinations in Sri Lanka in recent times. The editor of the Sunday Leader and an internationally known journalist, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was killed in an attack that occurred in broad daylight. It is reported that the police have submitted around 50 reports at various […]

CANADA/SRI LANKA: 21st Century Canada or 19th Century England?

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza In times of rapid technological development and social shifts, individuals and communities often experience social dislocation. They struggle to redefine–and reinforce–social categories as a means of locating themselves and others within society, regaining structure and stability. An underlying function of this schematization is social compartmentalization – in which the delimitation of boundaries allows individuals […]

INDIA: Burning of two Dalit girls is the lingering funeral pyre of the rule of law

Article | India | 23-12-2010

The ghoulish killings of two Dalit girls in Moradabad, an industrial town not far away from the national capital Delhi, is yet another reminder of almost everyday recurrence of attacks on Dalit communities in India. They encompass, also the grim truth of the complete failure of the Indian state in containing, leave aside eradicating, violence […]

PAKISTAN: Women have little to celebrate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza Today, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is incumbent upon the international community and the government of Pakistan to examine with greater concern the status and future of Pakistani women. This day may in some nations commemorate significant accomplishments for women’s rights and gender parity, […]

CAMBODIA: AHRC expresses sympathy, calls for investigation of stampede

The AHRC wishes to express the deepest sympathies to the people of Cambodia in the aftermath of the Bon Om Touk festival stampede that this Monday night left at least 375 dead and 755 injured according to Cambodia’s Bayon TV. Prime Minister Hun Sen recognized Monday night as “the biggest tragedy we have experienced in […]

SRI LANKA: Decriminalization of rape through impunity for perpetrators

While there are countless allegations of rape and sexual abuse of women and young children within the civil society, the high numbers are not reflected in the number of cases reported. The trauma and shame that generally follow sexual abuse prevent most women from ever reporting or speaking out about it. A great fear of […]

SRI LANKA: Undayas and Andayas and 1978 Constitution

Nothing can be worse for a country in the modern world than to have a bad constitution. Anybody with common sense would not find it difficult to understand that proposition. The constitution lays down the underlying organizing principles of a society. A bad constitution creates a badly organized society. To be badly organized, in a […]

SRI LANKA: Death sentences carried out by the police in Sri Lanka

When extraordinary explanations justify extrajudicial killings   By Sofie Rordam Arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings are an almost daily occurrence in Sri Lanka today. The police system and additional institutions expected to be the protectors of law have become so dysfunctional and politicized that illegalities predominantly are carried out in their names. Extrajudicial killings are […]

SRI LANKA: Attempting to impose payment for higher education on poorly paid wage earners

Basil Fernando The attacks on the students and rhetoric against them appear in many of the reports covering Sri Lanka today. The Minister, S.B. Dissanayake is heard over television channels talking in the crudest language against the students using such words as “haraka” (bulls and buffalos) which is rather unbecoming of a minister dealing with […]

INDIA: A War Criminal concluding the Commonwealth Games is the best it could go!

Article | India | 17-10-2010

*Avinash Pandey  Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka was the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010, New Delhi. He presided over the extravagant ceremony that would declare the arrival of India on the big stage, conclusively. Presiding over something is nothing new for the President. He has presided over […]

SRI LANKA: How does the constitutional question affect the question of Sri Lankan identity?

SRI LANKA: How does the constitutional question affect the question of Sri Lankan identity? Basil Fernando  The question of ‘identity’ means who is a Sri Lankan? It could be spoken of purely in sentimental terms and by that sense it might work in a particular territory. We can all call ourselves Sri Lankans and that […]