AHRC TV: Irom Sharmila to end 16-year fast and other stories in JUST ASIA Episode 132

This week’s episode begins with the surprising decision of Indian activist Irom Sharmila to end her 16-year fast, and join politics. Sharmila, known as Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’, has been spearheading the state’s struggle to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Just Asia caught up with Babloo Loitongbam, Director of Human Rights Alert and long time friend of Irom Sharmila, for his views.

In Thailand, police arrested Ms. Naritsarawan Kaewnopparat, niece of torture victim Mr. Wichian Puaksom, on July 26, for posting information online about the torture of her late uncle and demanding that the perpetrators be prosecuted. Mr. Wichian was a military conscript who was tortured to death by fellow soldiers in 2011. Although Wichian’s family was given compensation, none of the soldiers were prosecuted for criminal offences.

Next, Dalits in Gujarat, India are leaving dead cows to rot on the streets in protest against an attack on a group of Dalits by cow protection vigilantes on July 11. The Dalits were stripped, tied to a van and beaten for four hours, accused for indulging in cow slaughter. Although the police were approached for help, they failed to act, once again showing that the most vulnerable members of Indian society do not have access to protection.

In Indonesia, a recent peaceful protest against the Air Force in Bogor regency saw the arrest of 11 villagers, together with the seizure of their mobile phones. Although they have been released, the arrest and violence has been traumatic for the Sukamulya villagers. Over the last nine years, the villagers have fought against intimidation and violence conducted by the Indonesian Air Force, which is claiming 1070 hectares of their land. To learn more, Just Asia speaks to Mr. Junaidi Adi Putra, a Rumpin human rights defender.

In Pakistan’s Khyberpakhthunkwa Province, police have ordered the externment of Nowshera district’s transgender community. The order was issued in response to a complaint filed against police sexual abuse of transgender individuals in illegal detention on July 14. Leaflets were also distributed throughout the district, asking people not to give their houses on rent to transgenders, inform the police about their residence, and kick them out from their houses.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features two cases from India and the Philippines.

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