AHRC TV: JUST ASIA, Episode 117

This week Just Asia covers the deadly dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan city, Philippines. Suffering from hunger and unable to plant their crops due to the El Nino drought, the farmers organized a protest blockading the main highway connecting North Cotabato and Davao City on March 29. On April 1, police and military personnel opened fire on the unarmed farmers, killing three and injuring 116. To express support and condemn the blatant violation of the farmers’ rights, 17 organizations joined a protest at the Philippines Consulate, Hong Kong. Just Asia covered the protest.

Clashes between security forces and farmers occurred in Indonesia this week as well, with 83 houses burned down on March 31 in Sribhawono village, East Lampung regency. Approximately 40 local farmers were arrested, and more than 10 farmers are still being detained. Just Asia speaks to Mr. Edi Arsadad, a local community leader, for more information.

Moving to Sri Lanka, the country’s Supreme Court recently ordered the police to pay compensation to torture victims in two separate cases: in the case of D G Wijotmanna and Dinesh Priyankara Perera. In Perera’s case the Court also noted that torture is not confined to physical violence, but includes causing pain to the mind as well.

In Pakistan, the brother of missing journalist Zeenat Shahzadi committed suicide on March 24, after losing hope of finding his sister. Shahzadi disappeared on 19 August 2015 on her way to work, and since then her whereabouts are unknown.

Next, a coalition of rights groups urged the Thai government to immediately revoke Order 13/2016 conferring sweeping powers to the military, and shielding them from judicial review.

In India, four men died of asphyxiation in a clogged manhole near Bangalore on April 6. Two of the men were manual scavengers, and the other two were passers-by who tried to save them. Although manual scavenging is legally prohibited, it continues due to India’s caste system and the lack of modern sanitation techniques.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features three stories from Pakistan, Indonesia and India.

The bulletin can be watched online at www.alrc.asia/justasia and AHRC TV YouTube. We welcome both human rights feeds to be considered for weekly news bulletin, and your suggestions to improve our news channel. Please write to news@ahrc.asia. You can also watch our Weekly Roundup on Facebook.