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 […]

Judicial accountability and the cases of Irene Fernandez (Malaysia) and Michael Anthony Fernando (Sri Lanka)

The former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, expressed serious concerns over judicial integrity in Asia during a speech delivered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on October 17. In his speech, Mr Cumaraswamy spelt out the principles of judicial accountability and the need to deal with complaints against […]

SRI LANKA: Asian Human Rights Commission presents inaugural Human Rights Defenders Award to Michael Anthony Fernando

This 5 October 2003, the Board of Directors of the Asian Human Rights Commission decided to present its inaugural Human Rights Defenders Award to Mr Michael Anthony Fernando, in recognition of his struggle for basic freedoms. Mr Fernando is today being released from jail in Sri Lanka, where he has been kept since February serving […]

Human Rights Defender punished

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) draws the attention of the international community, particularly human rights and civil society organisations, to an act of grave injustice done by the Malaysian courts and the Malaysian government to a human rights defender and civil society activist, Irene Fernandez, by finding her guilty of a charge on Oct. […]

Changing the talk on World Food Day

Statement | Asia | 15-10-2003

That deep poverty affects the majority of people in the world is a widely accepted fact. Poverty is essentially about food. It is about hunger and thirst. If the world admits the existence of large-scale poverty it cannot escape the conclusion that a vast number of people also don’t get enough to eat. As these […]

INDONESIA: Time for a new Indonesian history

Thirty-eight years since the events that propelled General Suharto to power, and five years since his downfall, Indonesians are still subjected to a version of history conceived and propagated by the New Order regime. That version served as both the pretext and justification for one of the largest and least known crimes against humanity of […]

UN initiative on the rule of law adds new impetus to the struggle for human rights

Statement | Asia | 02-10-2003

The international community took an important step this September 24, when the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, urged the Security Council to take up rule of law issues. There is now global understanding that without the rule of law, the lofty ideals of the UN Charter are irrelevant. Without the rule of […]

SRI LANKA: Senior judg premature resignation calls for a thorough review of Sri Lanka judiciary

Senior judge’s premature resignation calls for a thorough review of Sri Lanka’s judiciary The leading prelates of Sri Lanka have made strong pleas for Justice Mark Fernando to stay in his post despite the difficulties he has faced. The Mahanayake of Asgiriya and Rammanniya Nikayas, the Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, several Annunayakas of Asgiriya, Amarapura […]

SRI LANKA: Minister’s attack on Sri Lankan National Police Commission speaks to its progress

That the Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister, Mahinda Wijesekara, has launched an attack on the National Police Commission (NPC) indicates that the body is already making itself felt. Reacting to investigations against him over severe assaults on peaceful protesters in his electorate, the Minister remarked that, “An independent police commission is not a requirement for backward […]

SRI LANKA: Senior Judge’s Resignation a Warning of Deteriorating Judicial Independence and Rule Of Law in Sri Lanka

The news that Justice Mark Fernando has decided to resign from the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka two and a half years early is of grave concern. Observers believe that Justice Fernando has been sidelined and unfairly treated within the Supreme Court. In recent years the Chief Justice has excluded him from hearings relating to […]

IRAQ: Tragic bombing in Iraq reminds us of why we need the UN

Statement | Asia | 19-08-2003

The bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad this August 19 is a profound tragedy for the entire world community. Its immediate victims included Iraqi civilians and United Nations staff, among them the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq, Mr Sergio Vieira de […]

BURMA: Ad Hoc Commission into Burma massacre adds to pressure on Security Council

Two months after the brutal attack on the National League for Democracy convoy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo at Depayin, northern Burma, both leaders remain under detention, while arrests and disappearances continue. To date, the actual number of victims killed or injured, captured or missing remains a mystery to […]

INDIA: Land for India’s landless returning to the hands of landlords

Statement | India | 30-07-2003

On July 21 about one hundred police and security personnel demolished houses and destroyed crops belonging to indigenous Adivasi people in Maharashtra, India. They burnt down hundreds of huts and more than a thousand acres of crops. About two hundred families now have no homes, no food, no livelihood and no place to go. ‘There […]