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 […]

SRI LANKA: Custodial Death of Sunil Hemachandra

Sunil Hemechanra was arrested on the night of 23 July by the Morahahena police and his family alleged that when they visited him the next morning he was unconscious and bleeding from the nose. After some intervention he was taken to a hospital, where he was immediately taken for surgery. He died the morning of […]

SRI LANKA: Open Letter to Foreign Correspondents in Sri Lanka

We bring to your attention the case of Sunil Hemachandra, a 28-year-old rubber taper who recently won a lottery but who thereafter died in the General Hospital in Colombo on July 26 from injuries received at the Moragahahena police station. The relatives allege that in the days preceding his arrest he had been approached and […]

Republic of Korea: New guidelines on consecutive solitary confinement welcomed; but much more need to be done

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Korea (ROK),  Ms. Kang, Kum-sil, has given a guideline to the prison officers to prohibit consecutive solitary confinement in prisons in June 2003 after a inmate who was in solitary confinement at Andong Prison committed suicide in May […]

HONG KONG: Hong Kong SAR Administration Should Respond Now and Scrap Article 23 Legislation

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) renews its earlier demand to the administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to drop its proposed national security laws to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-Constitution. The protest march yesterday was a clear message that […]

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners must end immediately

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners  must end immediately Prisoner kept in handcuffs and in a straitjacket for 466 days  in violation of ROK’s international obligations 27 June 2003 AS-22-2003 A Statement By the Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that JEONG Phil-ho has […]

INDONESIA/ACEH: Stop military repression; Provide full access to humanitarian and human rights agencies

The ongoing military operation by the Indonesian government against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) raises great concern. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received increasing number of reliable reports that about 200 persons have been killed and almost 40,000 civilians been displaced since military operations which began on 19 May 2003 intended to wipe […]

SRI LANKA: Special Operation Unit A Welcome Move

An Approach Different to The Organized Crimes Bill   10 June 2003 AS-20-2003   A Statement By the Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC A Special Operation Unit (SOU), established under the instruction of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to bust organised crimes, commenced its service officially last week. The SOU comprises 30 members […]