Urgent Appeals

Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries. Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings. Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere. People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person. And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm. There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances. Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly. In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate. Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle. In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates. For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.
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Malaysia: Hundreds Charged for \"Illegal\" Assembly

AHRC UA990316 Malaysia 16 March 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Since September 1998 sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, several hundred people hav...

Sri Lanka: Call for Action on Disappearances

AHRC UA990312 Sri Lanka 12 March 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The United Nation Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances Report E/CN.4/1999/6...

Freedom of Expression on Trial

AHRC UA990302 Malaysia 02 March 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL [UPDATE] October 1998, thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life came into the streets to peacefully protest the c...

Sri Lanka: Another Death Due to Police Assault

AHRC UA990210 Sri Lanka 10 February 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Name : Mr.Ranawaka Ararchige Nihal Padmasiri Age : 30 years Death: Due to police assault Da...

Irene Fernandez Charged Under Printing Presses and Publication Act of 1984

AHRC UA990205 Malaysia 05 February 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL [UPDATE] BACKGROUND INFORMATION: June 1996, Irene Fernandaz, director of Tenaganita, a non-government organisations,...

Sri Lanka: A Youth Tortured to Death in Police Custody

AHRC UA990204 Sri Lanka 04 February 1999 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION URGENT APPEAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Name of the Victim : K. R. ANURA SAMPPATH of Veera Puranappu Mawatha, Lakshapathiya, Moratu...

East Timor: Open Letter to Habibie – Free Xanana Gusmao Now!

The Asia Pacific Coalition for East Timor’s (APCET) open letter to Habibie and the governments of ASEAN to free Xanana Gusmao now. We are seeking endorsement until 14 February 1999 for submissio...

Leo Echegaray Faces Death Sentence Again on 5 February 1999

On 23 December 1998 ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION issued an appeal to commute the death sentence of Leo Echegaray. Thanks to all your support he was given reprive for 6 months. Due strong pressure fro...

Cambodia: Update: Court Releases Two Human Rights Activists on Bail

On 20 January 1999 the Cambodian Court of Appeals this morning overturned a Sihanoukville Municipal Court Order and granted bail to two human rights campaigners from LICADHO (Cambodian League for Prom...

Anwar Ibrahim and Other Detainees Tortured by Police

7 January 1999: The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Rahim Noor resigned. It has been alleged that Rahim Noor was directly responsible for the injuries inflicted upon Anwar Ibrahim on the first night...

Activist Lashed Out At Prime Minister ond Anwar’s Trial

Malaysia Press Conference: Malaysian Activist Lashes Out At Prime Minister and Anwar’s Trial Dear Friends, The Asian Human Rights Commission had organised a Press Conference and RoundTable on 30...

Cambodia: Two Human Rights Activists Arrested for Action Against Dumping of Toxic Waste

21 December 1998, Mr Seng Sok Kim and Mr Meas Minear, both staff of the Cambodian League for Promotion of Human Rights [LICADHO] were arrested by police. Mr. Seng Sok Kim is the Sihanoukville Coordina...

An Appeal to Commute Death Sentence of Leo Echegaray

Dear Friends, We are releasing an appeal send to the President of Philippines to Commute the Death Sentences of Mr Leo Echegaray. 24 December 1998 Mr. Joseph Estrada President of the Philippines Malac...

Philippines: An Appeal to Commute Death Sentence of Leo Echegaray

Leo Echegaray is the first person to be sentenced to death in the Philippines in two decades. Leo Echegaray may face execution by lethal injection on 4 January 1999. Only a Presidential Review will st...

Bangladesh: Nirendranath Adhikari Released After 7 Years in Jail Without Trial

Introduction Nirandra Nath Odhikari, 25, had been put in jail for seven years without being tried by court in Bangladesh after he was arrested allegedly for murdering his grandmother. 15 January 1998 ...

Burma: Fear for the Safety of 7 Monks

There are serious concern for the safety of seven monks who were involved in the 23 November 1998, demonstration in Mandalay, Burma. The SPDC government is searching for the seven monks namely: 1. Ash...

Singapore: Petition to Ratify ICCPR and ICESR and Repeal the ISA

6 December 1998: 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Human Rights Day 80 people including former political detainees and many children, gathered at the Excelsior Hotel to mark the 50th anniversary of th...

Malaysia: Defense Lawyer Sentenced to 3 Months in Jail

Zainur Zakaria, a lawyer defending former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim against criminal charges, was sentenced to three months jail for contempt of court on November 30, 1998. Zainu...

Letter from Tian Chua

Dear friends, Got into PJ (Petaling Jaya) lock-up about 4:30 pm. Met Nusrat briefly at the police office, then the SBs quickly took me into the lock-up. The conditions – cleanliness wise –...

India: Signature Campaign for Dalits’ Human Rights

260 million Dalits are determined to cast out caste in the new millenium. The Dalits Human Rights Charter is produced by Dalit groups in India. They have lauched a signature campaign in India – ...