Hong Kong marches for democracy, stability and prosperity on July 1

On July 1 last year, more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Hong Kong. It was the sixth anniversary of China’s resumption of sovereignty, and they marched against the Hong Kong government’s proposed national security legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, the territory’s mini-Constitution. The proposed law contained many dangerous […]

Eliminating torture remains our foremost challenge in Asia

Statement | Asia | 24-06-2004

Torture is the most serious obstacle to the advancement of human rights in Asia, whether civil and political rights or economic, social and cultural rights. This is because torture is the prime generator of fear, which inhibits people’s ability to react when other rights are threatened. Where large numbers of people decline to participate in […]

Make the SAARC region a torture-free zone!

As the world commemorates the International Day against Torture 2004, the countries of South Asia continue to be known only for their collective record of endemic torture. From the pre-colonial period to the present day, horrendous torture has been a characteristic of law enforcement throughout the region. In virtually every police station of every South […]

THAILAND: Disappearance of a human rights defender and disappearance of justice in Thailand

The authorities in Thailand have abandoned any pretence that they are trying to resolve the disappearance of well-known human rights defender and lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit. After initially reacting to domestic and international outcry (see AHRC statement AS-07-2004, 18 March 2004), they seem now to be concerned only with deflecting criticism, obscuring the truth and discouraging […]

SRI LANKA: Failure to discipline criminal police officers in Sri Lanka exacerbates social instability

That police in Sri Lanka continue to get away with torture and murder despite enormous publicity was dramatically illustrated this past fortnight, with the killing of an innocent man involving an officer who is also a known torturer. The alleged killing of Saman Priyantha Guneratne on May 30 is understood to have involved the same […]

SRI LANKA : Amnesty Sri Lanka report incorrect and counterproductive

The statement by Amnesty International in its annual report for 2004 to the effect that Sri Lanka is experiencing “an improved human rights situation” is deeply disturbing and patently incorrect. Unfortunately, this statement will now be used to silence human rights defenders in the country trying to alert the public to the extreme dangers currently […]

BURMA : Jailing a child rape victim in Burma, masquerading in Geneva

On 6 March 2003, 15-year-old Ma San San Aye signed a letter to senior Burmese government officials alleging that she and another young woman had been raped by U San Net Kyaw, the chairman of the Dedalu Village Tract governing council, in Pyapon Township, Irrawaddy Division. The letter explained that although the rape was reported […]

THAILAND: Judicial enquiry must follow mass killing in Southern Thailand

Exactly what happened in Songkhla, Pattani and Yala provinces of Southern Thailand this April 28 is yet to become clear, however, under no circumstances can the killing of at least 107 civilians be justified as “self-defence”. All indications are that security forces there were anticipating attacks, mostly by groups of teenage boys and young men […]

NEPAL: Without a parliament, whence human rights in Nepal?

Statement | Nepal | 22-04-2004

Democratic groups in Nepal are now demonstrating in the capital daily, putting lives and limbs at risk demanding an end to ‘regression’–the abolition of parliament by the king, who has taken both legislative and executive power for himself. They have been brutally attacked by the security forces, and large numbers illegally detained, among them, some […]

INDIA: A human body preserved like a fish and a rotten criminal justice system in West Bengal

Statement | India | 01-04-2004

In October 2003, 17-year-old Mousumi Ari was murdered by her in-laws. Whereas the role of the state personnel should have been to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, in fact they did exactly the opposite, as one of the accused, the father-in-law of the victim, was attached to the investigating police station. When police from Kakdwip […]

SRI LANKA: Casual Killings: Seven People Shot Dead by Police within 70 Days

Within the first 70 days of the year 2004, the number of people shot dead by the police in Sri Lanka came to seven ¡V an average of one person every 10 days. All of these shootings have taken place during peacetime policing, and all of the victims were civilians. None of the deaths suggest […]

THAILAND: Disappearance of Thai human rights defender cause for grave concern

Disappearance of Thai human rights defender cause for grave concern What has happened to Somchai Neelaphaijit, and why hasn’t the government of Thailand so far been able to reveal the circumstances of his disappearance? Reports indicate that Mr Somchai, who is a prominent lawyer and human rights defender from the south of the country, was […]

PAKISTAN: Who is celebrating International Women’s Day in Pakistan?

A Statement by Asian Human Rights Commission Who is celebrating International Women’s Day in Pakistan? On 5 February 2004, Mr Bhooro Subzoai together with an accomplice first shot dead his aunt, Ms Malookan, and then Mr Ali Dost, whom he claims to have suspected of having committed adultery. However, relatives of the deceased have rejected […]

INDIA: Custodial deaths in West Bengal and India’s refusal to ratify the Convention against Torture

Statement | India | 29-02-2004

This February, the families of Nemai Ghosh and Anesh Das were compensated 100,000 Rupees (US$2200) each by the government of West Bengal for their deaths while under police custody at the Malda Magistrates Court on 1 August 2002. The two, who had been arrested on petty charges, were locked in one of two holding cells […]

SRI LANKA: ATTACK ON TONY FERNANDO – Sri Lanka Seriously Embarrassed Internationally

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on 9 January 2004 informed the Sri Lankan government that, in pursuant of Rule 86 of the committee’s rules of procedure, the state party (Sri Lanka) should adopt all necessary measures to “protect the life, safety and personal integrity of the author (Michael Anthony Emanuel “Tony” Fernando) and […]

SRI LANKA: Forensic science, mortuaries and the rights of victims of crime

As people read obituaries and find out about the death of someone they know, the first thing many think to do is visit the person and pay their last respects to the dead body. The body becomes a sacred thing, which family and friends venerate by keeping clean and tidy, and ensuring that it is […]


Protecting victims requires defence of principles and effective institutions Asian Human Rights Commission December 10, 2003   Today the very foundation upon which human rights stand is under attack. Challenges to human rights were once largely restricted to relative grounds, such as culture and religion. This is no longer the case. Now the absolute principles […]

Sri Lanka: Impeachment against a Judicial Officer should be beyond Political Bargaining

The impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is now before the Parliament with the signatures of a hundred members of Parliament in support.  Meanwhile a proposal by President Chandrika Kumaratunga who has called for the withdrawal of the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice is among the latest proposals to defuse the current […]

Close contact with victims makes human rights work meaningful and effective

Statement | Asia | 22-11-2003

Thirty-eight persons from ten Asian countries gathered together at Wattala, Sri Lanka, from November 14 to 24, 2003, for the annual Human Rights School Session jointly organised by the Religious Groups for Human Rights and Human Rights Correspondence School programmes of the Asian Human Rights Commission.  During the session, the organisers aimed to bring the […]

Slighting the democratic process to undermine the rule of law in Sri Lanka

By suspending parliament and calling the police and military onto the streets this November 4, the President of Sri Lanka has undermined ongoing efforts to restore the rule of law to the country by way of institutional reforms.  The victims of this arbitrary action will be the people of Sri Lanka. Their security has suffered a […]