THAILAND: Structural and legal threats to free expression in referendum process

By Phattranit Yaodam and Samira Saran August 7, 2016 is scheduled for the constitutional referendum by the Thai Military government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the junta-ruling body. It is during times of political change that the right to freedom of expression is most essential, ensuring that a well-informed and empowered […]

SRI LANKA: 1983: Betrayal of the Absolute Right to Justice

By Basil Fernando It has been 33 years since Black July, 1983. These 33 years have been part of our lifetime. We have witnessed not only the horrendously criminal acts of July 1983, but also what happened by way of justice after those serious crimes. I would like to illustrate my point in terms of […]

INDIA: Turning cows into man-eaters

Article | India | 20-07-2016

Avinash Pandey Gujarat is simmering again. Dalits are agitating over criminals indulging in criminality. These criminals, who are fondly referred to as “cow vigilantes” by the mainstream media, have recently stripped and flogged four Dailit youth in Una. The resultant protests have claimed two lives: a policeman has reportedly been killed in stone pelting in […]

PAKISTAN: Journey from Pakistan to Al-Bakistan

Nida Paras Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister, once said, “Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness create the desperation that fuels religious extremism.” Mohtarma, being a part of that environment, was well aware of it, where religious […]

INDIA: Cow worshippers chew up the rule of law

Article | India | 15-07-2016

Avinash Pandey A magisterial / judicial order directing the police to register a first information report and investigate a family that lost its provider in a mob lynching would seem impossible for anyone living in a rule of law system. But in the self-designated largest democracy of the world, this is what happened on 14 […]

SRI LANKA: ASPs hold the key to change at police stations

By Basil Fernando The media reported a speech made by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara., wherein he stated quite openly and categorically that the police should make use of the present opportunity and take steps to change. This is a welcome statement in a climate where any kind of positive development in […]

SRI LANKA: Tamil Translation of the Article “The President Participates in Anti-Torture Demonstrations”

We are sharing with you a Tamil translaton of an Article published by the Asian Human Rights Commission, in Commemoraiton of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, where the “… Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC SL) marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in a rather unusual and impressive way. […]

INDIA: Ruby Rai and the joke called Juvenile Justice

Article | India | 01-07-2016

The Bihar police have arrested Ruby Rai, a 17-year-old girl, under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, and 120(B) of the India Penal Code on 26 June 2016 and have duly sent her to jail, i.e. an adult jail. Her alleged crime is that of cheating to secure top rank in the state senior secondary […]

SRI LANKA : The President Participates in Anti-Torture Demonstrations

Basil Fernando The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC SL) marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in a rather unusual and impressive way. It organized a demonstration with participants carrying placards that said, “Stop Torture”. The president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, was among the demonstrators. There were also other […]

SRI LANKA: What Poddala Jayantha means to us

By Basil Fernando I do not know Poddala Jayantha personally. However, I have felt for several years and still strongly feel that I as a human being, and we as Sri Lankans, owe a serious obligation to him. I remember the first day I heard about the cruel way he was dealt with some 7 […]

SRI LANKA: Government’s delay in dealing with laws delays

See the YouTube Video relating to this article. Journalist, Poddala Jayantha in a moving article, written in Sinhala, recalls his ordeal which took place exactly 7 years ago in the evening of June 1st that shocked the entire nation. A threat which has been made to him by the brother of the then President Mahinda […]

INDIA: Jungle-raj in the police and judiciary

Article | India | 03-06-2016

Avinash Pandey Mathura, a city in Uttar Pradesh, witnessed a sensational encounter between the police and a semi-religious cult that left at least 21 dead, 2 senior cops among them, yesterday. The police had reportedly gone there to evict members of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi who have been illegally occupying Jawahar Bagh for […]

SRI LANKA: A Comment on the proposed Office of Missing Persons

By Basil Fernando The attitude towards murder is one thing on which hardly any progress can be made in Sri Lanka. Murder is regarded as quite normal and not something to worry too much about. This attitude is also something that should worry everyone. It is this attitude we see in the proposed Office of […]

SRI LANKA/WORLD : Attorney General’s Department comes under serious public scrutiny

The role of the Attorney General’s Department in terms of upholding the justice system in Sri Lanka, and rule of law is being critically examined from many quarters. The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Ms. Monica Pinto severely critiqued the Attorney Generals’ Department in her Preliminary Observations and recommendations following […]

INDIA: Watered Down Verdicts Will Make Drought Drama Recur

Article | India | 18-05-2016

The Supreme Court’s rap to the Union and to various state governments for their apathy to drought victims is welcome. But, it is akin to a few drops sprinkled onto a parched desert under the oversight of unconscious executive governance. The verdict in the writ petition, filed by Swaraj Abhiyan on 11 May 2016 (Swaraj Abhiyan v. Union […]

INDIA: The Elephant in the Room: The brutal rape and murder case in Kerala and the need for police reform

An article by Bijo Francis and Urmila Pullat The press has reported on three rapes in Kerala in the last month. The one that everyone is talking about is the brutal rape and murder on April 28 of the Dalit law student, whose dismembered body was found by her mother in their home. The ones not discussed […]

SRI LANKA/WORLD : Torture is a common practice in Sri Lanka – UN Special Rapporteur on torture

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment Mr Juan E Mendez, published his preliminary findings on 7th May 2016 following an official visit to Sri Lanka. He has observed that torture is a common practice in Sri Lanka and structural reforms are required to prevent it. In […]

INDIA: Where helplines are in need of help themselves

Article | India | 11-05-2016

Hello. On 9 May 2016, Tanya Shrivastava, a 21-year-old journalism student, made a distress call to 1091, the toll free womens’ helpline. An intern with The Times of India, a prominent Indian newspaper, Tanya had just survived an attempted kidnapping right outside her newspaper office. As she dialled, her kidnapper was trying to get way. What […]

SRI LANKA – The new AG and IGP – Tasked to revitalise the dying system

Now, there is a new Attorney General and a new Inspector General of Police. Whatever be the disputes about the manner in which their appointments were made, they are now the operators of two of the most vital systems of the state apparatus in Sri Lanka, the Attorney General’s Department and the police service. That […]


Article | Asia | 02-05-2016

Keynote address at the Conference on Human Rights Solidarity Bangladesh, May 2016, Bangkok, Thailand Discussing Bangladesh’s situation from the human rights perspective is no doubt a difficult issue, given the chaotic situation that has developed in both the country’s political and criminal justice systems, during recent times. It may not be of much comfort to […]