ASIA: Weekly Roundup, Episode 82

This Week’s Roundup begins in the Indian state of Kerala where AHRC follows up on the unique police modernisation process underway. Featured in the programme is footage of Member of the State Legislative Assembly V.T. Balram, debating this critical reform process in the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

The programme then revisits events in China where more than 236 lawyers and human rights activists have been targeted by the State. Local media have been accusing the lawyers arrested of “colluding with petitioners to disturb social order”, and detainees have been warned not to publicise details of their cases. The actions of the law enforcement officers demonstrate the Chinese authorities’ clear disregard for basic human rights.

The arrest, and in certain cases incommunicado detention, of lawyers defending civil freedoms is broadcasting a threat to journalists and lawyers in China. Human rights organizations are strongly urging the Chinese authorities to release the detainees.

In Indonesia, AHRC TV interviews rights defender Chris Biantoro on the situation of human rights activists in the country. Chris talks about problems involving torture and indigenous tribe members, which are particularly prevalent.

The programme then circles back to India where the number of farmer suicides remains alarming. Farmers have resorted to suicide under the burden of heavy debt due to crop failures and increased interests on loans. The number of suicides in recent years has risen significantly. However, the National Crime Records Bureau has been manipulating statistics to play down the extent of the suicide crisis in agrarian India.

The programme finally ends in the Philippines, where AHRC TV interviews Zara Alvarez. A human rights advocate, Zara had been helping human rights victims and documenting cases of human rights violations, when she was wrongfully detained. Her detention has been the result of the police fabricating charges against her.

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