BURMA: Attack on democracy party in Burma demands an uncompromising international response

The military rulers of Burma have in this past week again shown that their pretensions to human rights and political change are utterly fraudulent. The Asian Human Rights Commission has received with concern increasingly reliable reports that at least 70 persons were killed in the attacks on members and supporters of the National League for […]

THAILAND: Thailand’s dangerous slide into barbarism

Thailand’s dangerous slide into barbarism The six migrant workers murdered in Thailand this week were the victims of a monster that threatens to consume an entire society and its democracy. The monster was let loose by the current government when in February it launched a “war on drugs” and granted the police a licence to […]

INDIA: Reforms Committee recommendations will throw the Indian criminal justice system back into the dark ages

Statement | India | 21-05-2003

In November 2000 the Government of India set up the Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System, purportedly to fairly assess and propose changes to the way criminal trials are conducted in India. This April, the true objectives of the Committee have been revealed. A summary of its 158 recommendations shows that despite its […]

INDONESIA: Termination of Komnas HAM Massacre Investigations Will Only Exacerbate Indonesia’s Culture of Impunity

Due to harassment by militia gangs and political elites connected to the Soeharto military rule, Indonesia’s first preliminary investigations into the 1965-66 Massacre and the 1998 May Riot by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) are both in danger of being shelved.  The Commission was given a limited six-month timeframe to complete these inquiries.  […]

HONG KONG: Deep Appreciation for the Life and Work of Dr. Tse Yuen-man

Statement | China | 13-05-2003

The right to life is at the centre of all human rights, and all efforts of the community should be geared toward its protection and promotion. All medical, nutritional, environmental, educational and legal services of the community should promote and uphold this sublime right to life. The people in the medical profession, particularly those that […]

SRI LANKA: Horrible Crimes but No Possibility of DNA Tests

A Comment by the Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC The killing of the Hamer family in Dehiwela in Sri Lanka has added to the list of horrible crimes that are taking place in the country on almost a daily basis. The murder of the 79-year-old father, 35-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter took place in […]

A Campaigner Against Disappearances in Sri Lanka Wins Prestigious Kwangju Human Rights Award

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission Since 2000, the Kwangju Human Rights Award is presented yearly in honor of the 1980 Kwangju Uprising, where the Kwangju people fought against the military take over of their country and 240 Kwangju citizens were martyred for the cause.  The award  ris presented to a person who […]

BURMA: Hunger still rampant in Burma

Burma is a fertile country with abundant resources. In years gone by it was said that nobody ever starves in Burma. This has long ceased to be the case. Empirical evidence suggests that every day millions of people there go hungry, hundreds of thousands are seriously malnourished, and that some are indeed starving. This May, […]

SRI LANKA: A Law To Encourage And Reward Torture – A Comment On The Bill On Organized Crime

——————–The justice system of Sri Lanka: What a damn mess—————— A Bill entitled Prevention of Organized Crime was gazetted on 24 January 2003. There was hardly any publicity to the Bill and thus there was no public debate on the matter. The speaker presented it to the Supreme Court for opinion on constitutionality and two […]

Ambedkar’s Relevance to the Global Democratisation Debate

Statement | | 14-04-2003

Ambedkar’s Anniversary 2003 The work of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been very much influenced by the work of B. R. Ambedkar, who in recent history was the undisputed leader of the Dalits (formally called Untouchables) and perhaps the most far-reaching thinker about democratisation in South Asia. It is the latter aspect upon […]

IRAQ: Worse than tyranny is colonialism; worse than dictatorship is anarchy

Statement | Asia | 13-04-2003

The people of Iraq have endured a war of great cruelty in the name of their liberation. What they now get is not liberation but colonialism, which is worse than tyranny and war combined.  Having been offered no part in all this, other than as a cheer squad, people have responded by grabbing whatever they […]

THAILAND: Why has the rule of law been made a victim of Thailand’s anti-drug campaign?

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC Why has the rule of law been made a victim of Thailand’s anti-drug campaign? Since February, when the government of Thailand opened the way for alleged drug traffickers to be murdered with impunity, over 2000 persons have been killed. This relentless carnage poses an enormous […]

SRI LANKA: Highest compensation to date awarded Sri Lanka torture victim

HONG KONG, Friday, April 4, 2003: The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka today awarded a torture victim a record amount in compensation. In the case of Gerald Perera, who was tortured by a group of police of the Wattala station on June 3, 2002, the Court awarded 800,000 Rupees cash, and full medical costs. Mr […]

SRI LANKA: On the misconduct of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Sarath Silva

In the addendum to his 2003 report to the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Mr. Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy stated that he continues to be concerned over the allegations of misconduct on the part of the Chief Justice [of Sri Lanka] Sarah Silva, the latest being […]

IRAQ: As terrible madness unfolds in Iraq, we are all at war

Statement | Asia | 20-03-2003

The Asian Human Rights Charter guarantees all persons the right to live in peace, and stresses that this right “can be guaranteed only if states are accountable to the international community”. The war that the United States has launched on Iraq this week has not only breached this right, but also entirely undermined the means […]

SRI LANKA: Regarding the torture and contempt of court case of Anthony Michael Fernando

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has carefully studied the complaint of torture made by Anthony Michael Emmanuel Fernando on 16 February 2003 and the previous contempt of court case against him. We reproduce below the full judgement (Ref: S.C.(F/F) No. 55/2003 or 6 February 2003) of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on the […]

SRI LANKA: The Judiciary and Human Rights

We are forwarding a statement from the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka regarding a very extraordinary incident. A man who has filed a fundamental (human) rights application at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was directed to file his case in another court. He later filed a further motion at the same court, in […]

CAMBODIA: Ten years after UNTAC, not an inch of progress in Cambodia’s rule of law

The total destruction of the Thai embassy and businesses in Phnom Penh on January 29, widely reported by the international media, does not come as a surprise to anyone who has worked on the Cambodian justice system since the elections of 1993 under the UN Transitional Authority for Cambodia (UNTAC). These events reveal that there […]


TORTURE AND CYANIDE: A RESPONSE TO “IS TORTURE EVER JUSTIFIED” — Basil Fernando, AHRC Note: The following letter, dated 14 January 2003, was written to the Economist magazine in reply to its January 11 cover story, “Is torture ever justified?” The opinion column from that edition is currently available online at ——————– Dear Sir/Madam […]

SRI LANKA: The National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Has Used Its Powers to Bite the Victims and Not the Perpetrators

ASIAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM 2002 – The Session on National Human Rights Commissions (December 10, 2002) National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka; A Disappointing Institution The Sri Lankan Commission Has Used Its Powers (Teeth) to Bite the Victims and Not the Perpetrators. The National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC) built on the basis of the […]