AHRC TV: Sri Lanka second best place for children in Asia and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 174

This week Just Asia begins with Save the Children’s new report ‘Stolen Childhoods’ in Sri Lanka. Launched on June 1, the report explores a unique index presenting the major reasons why childhood comes to an early end. Sri Lanka is ranked as the 61st best country in the world for children to grow up in, and the 2nd best place in Asia, outperforming neighbours India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Next, a brutal honour killing in Karnataka, India, saw a Muslim woman burned alive on June 3. The woman had eloped with a Dalit man in January. She had returned to her family recently, hoping her pregnancy would change their attitude. Instead, they brutally assaulted her husband and set her on fire. The woman’s mother, brother, sister and father-in law have been arrested.

Also in India, 40 homes were callously demolished in Chhipiya village, Madhya Pradesh. The homes were destroyed even as the sub divisional magistrate had promised to halt the demolition in a meeting with the affected families on the evening of June 2. Shocked at the authorities’ betrayal, the affected residents approached the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur which stayed the demolition drive and ordered the district collector to tell the court why no action was taken on the residents’ lease applications within 15 days.

Moving to Pakistan, a Christian sanitation worker died on June 1, after Muslim doctors at the public Civil Hospital refused to treat him for poisonous gas, as he was covered in sewage. Christian sanitation workers face extremely dangerous work conditions in the country, having to dive 30 to 50 feet below ground into manholes filled with toxic water without any protective gear. Christians are forced to do sanitation work in Pakistan, where many government hospitals reserve low skilled sanitation posts for non-Muslims.

Amidst Ramadan worship and fasting in Indonesia, the Depok city government forcibly closed and sealed off the Al-Hidayah Mosque belonging to the local Ahmadiyya community on June 3. Officers of the Depok Police Resort and the Civil Service Police Unit forcibly entered and searched the Mosque, seizing CCTVs and other items inside. One of the Ahmadi congregants was also arrested.

In Bangladesh, demands for information of disappeared victims continue. The families of the disappeared victims came to the streets during the Week of the Disappeared throughout the country. There have been hundreds of disappearances in the last eight years, even as the incumbent government continues committing this ‘crime against humanity’.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features four cases from India and Sri Lanka.

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