Freedom of expression

SRI LANKA: A Tragic Transformation: The Strange Case Of The 1978 Constitution

By Basil Fernando I have borrowed the title of this article from the immortal work of Robert Lewis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This novel is about a mysterious and tragic transformation caused by the use of certain chemicals. By the use of such chemical concoctions, Dr. Jekyll, an amiable, […]

THAILAND: Drop Criminal Complaint Against Fortify Rights Senior Human Rights Specialist Puttanee Kangkun

Thai authorities or Thai poultry company Thammakaset Company Limited should immediately drop criminal defamation complaints against Puttanee Kangkun and other human rights defenders, Fortify Rights said today. On December 6, Thammakaset filed a complaint against Puttanee with the Bangkok Southern Criminal Court for 14 social media engagements expressing support for human rights defenders. Puttanee is […]

BANGLADESH: Muzzling press freedom triggering risks on livelihood of Information Technology professionals

Bangladesh’s incumbent government, headed by Sheikh Hasina, continues curbing civic space and muzzling freedom of expression. The latest target has been Netra News – an investigative news portal launched from Sweden on 26 December 2019. Bangladesh government blocked access to the news portal within 72 hours of its launching with a report entitled “A wrist of luxury”. The […]

PAKISTAN: Activist languishing in jail a month after his arrest on trumped up charges

One month since Professor Muhammad Ismail was arbitrarily detained, he is still languishing in prison on trumped-up charges of ‘hate speech’, ‘spreading false information’ and ‘cyberterrorism’. CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) calls on the Pakistan authorities to halt his persecution and release him immediately and unconditionally. In […]

SRI LANKA: What happens to the people happens also to judges, lawyers, and others

A comment on the memoir of Former Chief Justice Dr Shiranee Bandaranayake entitled “Hold Me in Contempt” Basil Fernando Attorney-At-Law This memoir by former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake on the (now nullified) impeachment is a significant contribution to the cause of promoting the independence of judiciary in Sri Lanka. Its significance lies in the […]

WORLD: Thai judge survives shooting himself in the chest in open court as a protest against interference with judicial independence

By Basil Fernando In a Thai courthouse on 4th October 2019, Judge Khanakorn Pianchana shot himself in the chest as a protest against interference with the independence of judges in their decision-making process. Fortunately, he survived the suicide attempt – made in open court – and is reportedly out of intensive care. Regarding the issue […]

WORLD: A NATION IS NOT MERELY TERRITORY OR AN IDEOLOGY BUT A COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

By Basil Fernando Legalistically speaking, a nation is a people living together in a particular geographical region. But legal definitions do not create a nation. The meaning of nation is far deeper than any legal definition of it. Often politicians define a nation in terms of ideologies. For example, if a nation at a given […]

WORLD: Geneva Meeting on the Goal 16 of SDG and the spirit of 1980 Gwangju uprising

Statement | World | 02-10-2019

A side event was held in UN Human Rights Council premises on the 23rd of September. It was sponsored by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and the May 18 Foundation, South Korea. It was also supported by the Right Livelihood Foundation, CIVICUS (Geneva) and the International Bridges to Justice, also based in Geneva. Ambassador […]

BANGLADESH: Claim of economic growth without protection of human rights is a fallacy

An Oral Statement to the 42nd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) Madam Vice President. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes this Council to address some questions relating to enforcement of human rights, comprehensively. The issue of a State, which ratifies the United Nations’ treaties […]

WORLD: Affirming rights by ratification, denying rights in actual practice

Statement | World | 19-09-2019

Affirming something through a declaration and denying the same in actual practice happens everywhere, but the real test of affirmation is the degree to which something is practiced. When what is affirmed and what is actually practiced is virtually divorced then the very act of affirmation becomes a mockery. That, unfortunately, is the situation regarding […]

PHILIPPINES: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights

A Joint Written Submission to the 42nd Regular Session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada 1. Introduction Since 30 June 2016, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines) has engaged in a campaign of extrajudicial killing in violation of the […]

CAMBODIA: The roots of Cambodia’s persistent rights violations: Impunity of the powerful

A Joint Written Submission to the 42nd Regular Session of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada 1. Introduction Human rights in the Kingdom of Cambodia have remained a constant concern for decades, but recent years have seen marked deterioration of respect, protection and fulfilment […]

THAILAND: CONTEMPT OF COURT over critics of decision on MP’s media shareholding

A Statement from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission Case Between the Election Cases Division of the Supreme Court and Sarinee Achavanuntakul, Thai academic                                                    […]

WORLD: UN Human Rights Council should address human rights crisis in Cambodia at its 42nd session

A Joint Statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and 27 human rights organisaitons To Members and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council 30 August 2019 Dear Excellency, The undersigned civil society organizations, representing groups working within and outside Cambodia to advance human rights, rule of law, and democracy, are writing to […]

AHRC TV: UN urges ‘restraint’ as Hong Kong police get more violent and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 263

This week Just Asia begins with Hong Kong, where continuing protests are seeing an increase in police violence. Video footage shows police firing tear gas in enclosed areas, keeping a bleeding protester on the ground, and using batons to hit fleeing protesters. One woman suffered a ruptured eye due to a fired bean bag round, […]

SRI LANKA: An interview on crisis of Law with Mr. Basil Fernando

(Colombo Sri Lanka, August 09, 2019) We are sharing an interview with Mr. Basil Fernando in the National Television Station (Rupavahini) regarding the Crisis of Law in Sri Lanka in their 99 Minutes Program.       Please Click here See the Full Interview

AHRC TV: Legal profession calls for inquiry into police inaction and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 262

In this episode Just Asia begins with Hong Kong, where there have been new developments arising out of an attack at Yuen Long MTR station on ordinary citizens. A group of people wearing white shirts, generally believed to be thugs, attacked protesters and ordinary commuters with knives and batons on July 21st. The Hong Kong […]

WORLD: Angkhana Neelapaijit wins prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for championing fight against enforced disappearances and justice

Statement | World | 02-08-2019

This is the message the Asian Human Rights Commission sent to Angkhana Neelapaijit on her winning the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for championing the fight against forced disappearances.w “The Asian Human Rights Commission is very pleased to hear of Angkhana Neelapaijit you getting the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award. This is an honour not only to […]

WORLD: The launching of a new journal, SDG 16

Hong Kong, July 30, 2019 The journal with focus on the SDG 16 in particular which is “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” One of the targets of the SDG 16 is the achievement of rule of law. SDG 16 poses a serious challenges […]

SRI LANKA: Launching of a new book in Sinhala titled Neethiya and Vinaya (Law and Discipline).

Hong Kong, July 28, 2019  Launching of a new book.  Neethiya and Vinaya (Law and discipline) By Basil Fernando Publisher: Wijaysooriya Publishers, 98 pages. The AHRC announces the publication of a new book in Sinhala titled Neethiya and Vinaya (Law and Discipline). The book deals with political science theories and legal theories relating to the state duties for […]