This week’s episode of Just Asia begins with Hong Kong, which is seeing human rights at its lowest point since 1997, said an Amnesty International report. According to the report, authorities have “failed on many fronts” to protect the city’s rights and freedoms. Amnesty urged the Hong Kong government and civil servants to “make defending the rights of Hong Kong people their first priority”.
In India, after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) found evidence of Chhattisgarh police having raped and assaulted at least 16 women, the human rights body merely served a notice to the state government asking why the women should not be given compensation. The NHRC has not sought suspension of the accused police, or the establishment of an independent body to investigate the matter.
Moving to the Philippines, President Duterte has said he would consider ‘martial law’ if needed, to prevent the country from becoming a narco-state. Although over 6000 persons have been killed in the President’s drug war, there are no signs of the violence abating. Martial law would allow the military to detain persons at length. According to President Duterte, “If I have to declare martial law, I will declare it… I will declare martial law to preserve my nation.”
In Thailand, student activist Jatupat Bookpattaraksa, popularly known as Pai, is unable to meet his educational needs while in prison on lese majeste charges. After the Supreme Court dismissed Pai’s motion for bail revocation, the Court further ordered Pai to remain in custody for a fourth term, of 9 – 20 January 2017, and denied him bail. However, Pai has to sit for a mandatory exam to complete his bachelor’s degree on 17 – 18 January.
In Indonesia, new commissioners for the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) will be selected this year by the government, for the five-year period of 2017-2022. Prior to selecting new commissioners though, rights groups urge the government to address various problems affecting the performance of the human rights body, which has been very poor in the last ten years. Three main factors weakening Komnas HAM’s performance are the lack of political support, inadequate human resources and bureaucratic culture.
Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features two cases from Pakistan.
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