AHRC TV: Death penalty for sexual assault of children in India and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 220

This week Just Asia begins with India, where the government has cleared an ordinance introducing the death penalty for those committing sexual assault of children younger than 12 years. The ordinance has come under fire as such a serious change in the law has been attempted without proper debate and consultation in parliament. Furthermore, the introduction of the death penalty is seen as a ‘quick fix’ and diversionary tactic, removing focus from the real issue of India’s broken criminal justice system.

Next, in Indonesia, former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption. Reading out the court’s verdict, presiding Justice Yanto stated that Novanto was found guilty of rigging the electronic Identity Cards (E-ID) project, causing a loss of Rp 2.3 trillion. The court ordered him to pay Rp 500 million in fines and restitution. Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission’s achievement in this case has sparked public confidence that corruption eradication is possible.

Pakistan saw yet another transgender death on May 4. After Muni, a transgender woman, could not provide smaller currency for a 1000 rupee note that could be “showered” upon transgender women invited to dance at a wedding, she was fatally shot. This was the latest of several recent attacks on transgender women in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, and the fourth killing this year.

Moving to Cambodia, several senior journalists have left the Phnom Penh Post, which was sold to a Malaysian businessman at the weekend. Several journalists said they had been ordered to take down an article reporting on the paper’s sale. The sale of the paper, seen as Cambodia’s last independent daily, comes amid an increasing crackdown on media outlets.

Next, Nepal’s proposed National Integrity Policy (NIP) has created havoc among Non-Governmental Organizations, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and the wider human rights community. In particular, it places restrictions on how these organizations can spend money, what issues they may work on, and requires them to obtain permission before sharing their reports and publications. The proposed policy will thus adversely impact human rights work, including freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly, democracy and the rule of law.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features two cases from Indonesia.

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.