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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Pakistan: Message by NCJPP on Bishop’s Death and Funeral

Message: National Commission for Justice and Peace, Pakistan 8 May 1998 PAKISTAN: Eminent Catholic Bishop Sacrifices His Life to Protest Against Deadly Blasphemy Law Dear Friends, FUNERAL OF BISHOP JO...

Pakistan: Eminent Catholic Bishop Sacrifices His Life to Protest

Bishop John Joseph fired a bullet into his head on 6 May 1998 in a court-house where a Catholic was sentenced to death on 27 April under the blasphemy law of Pakistan. The blasphemy law in Pakistan ha...

Pakistan: Five Unionists Arrested and Office Demolished

16 April 98 the District management supported by police force demolished the All Pakistan Trade Union Office. The office is located at 114 – Gulberg Road, Industrial Area, Kashmir Road, Gulberg, Laho...

Thailand: Sulak Charged But Yadana Gas Pipeline Continues

On 28 February 1998 Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai decided that the laying of the Yadana gas pipeline by the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) should proceed as eighty percent of the construction is...

south Korea: Prof. LEE Jang-hee Charged Under National Security Law

The Asian Human Rights Commisssion and MINKAHYUP- Human Rights Group express their deep concern on the continuing violations of the right to freedom of expression and opinion of Professor Lee Jang-hee...

SRI LANKA: Sky Sports Lanka Dispute

Dear Friends, Once again thank you for your support, solidarity and actions on the Sky Sport Lanka appeal. Unfortunately this matter is still a long way from resolution, but workers are continuing to ...

Cambodia: Two Prisoners Suffering from AIDS

Prom Mean Rith, 34 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997 Sar Ka Sem, 29 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997 Prom Mean Rith and Sar Ka Sem are two prisoners in PJ Prison...

Philippines: Harassment of Lawyers

Three lawyers have been harrassed for engaging in a case against the military implicated in the torture and murder of labour leader Rolando Olalia in 1986. The lawyers subject to harassment are Romeo ...

south Korea: SUH Joon-Sik’s Trial Postponed

SUH Joon-sik, 49, the director Sarangbang human rights group, has been charged for screening a film called Red Hunt duing a human rights film festival. The authorities have claimed that the screening ...

Sri Lanka: Statement: Solidarity Action – SkySport Lanka Limited

Dear Friends, RE: Solidarity Action – SkySport Lanka (Ltd.), 12 Feb at German & Sri Lanka Consulates The Managing Director of SkySport Lanka (Ltd.), a German national, assaulted a production...

Cambodia: Chua Sakhon Re-Arrested and Three Appeal Court Judges Suspended

3 January 1998 the police rearrested Chua Sakhon, a military police commander and a member of Prince Norodom Ranariah’s royalist FUNCINPEC party. He was in a U.N. vehicle accompanied by several ...

Sri Lanka: Fact Finding Mission to Cleared and Uncleared Areas of Wanni

Dear friends, Happy New Year greetings from Hong Kong! Thanks for responsing to our Urgent Appeals. We hope for the coming year you will continue the letter writings and other appropriate actions agai...

Sri Lanka: Killing of Political Prisoners in Kalutara Prison

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expressed its concern over the killing of three prisoners and attacks on many others for more than an hour on 12 December 1997 in Kulutara Prison, which is loc...

India: Bihar: Jesuit Priest Murdered for Defending Dalits Land Rights

A Jesuit priest, Fr. Anchanikal T. Thomas, 46, was murdered in the Hazaribagh District of the Indian state of Bihar. He was working with the “untouchables” or dalits in the villages for th...

Cambodia: Srun Vong Vannak Sentenced to 13 Years in Jail

Srun Vong Vannak, a member of the opposition Khmer Nation Party (KNP) and the party’s chief of security, was sentenced to 13 years in jail – a decision that took the judge only 10 minutes to re...

Sri Lanka: 16,742 Disappearances Established! What Next?

Three commissions created by the Sri Lankan government have established the disappearances of 16,742 people. While the claim that the number of disappearances are much larger needs to be further inves...