AHRC TV: India’s Supreme Court decriminalizes homosexuality and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 235

This week Just Asia begins with India, where the Supreme Court has decriminalized sexuality. In a landmark and much-awaited judgment, the country’s top court held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code violates Articles 14,15,19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, insofar as it criminalizes consensual sexual acts between adults in private. India is reportedly home to more than 2.5 million people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, and it is hoped that the judgment will lessen the discrimination they face.

Next, in Nepal, former child soldier Lenin Bista was prevented from flying to Thailand to participate in an international youth conference. Bista was told he could not travel abroad because he was ‘partially blacklisted’ on the morning of August 24. Bista has filed an application at the National Human Rights Commission, which has already summoned the Head of Immigration and Home Secretary for an inquiry. Bista also filed a writ at the Supreme Court, and the top court has ordered the defendants to present a written response.

Moving to Indonesia, the country’s corruption watchdog has named 41 parliament members of Malang city, East Java province, as suspects in an alleged bribery case related to the city’s budget deliberation for the 2015 budget year. Corruption in the public and private spheres continues to be a serious problem in Indonesia, despite the existence of the Corruption Eradication Commission for more than 10 years.

Next, the new UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, made her first key speech on Monday, at the opening of the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Two-time Chilean President, Bachelet succeeds Zaid Raad al Hussein. According to Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, Bachelet’s experience makes her the perfect human rights commissioner. ‘As a former [torture] victim herself, “she brings a unique perspective to the role of a vigorous defence of human rights. People worldwide will depend on her to be a public and forceful champion, especially where offenders are powerful”, said Roth.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features a case from Indonesia.

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