This week Just Asia begins with India, where three police constables were suspended in an incident that went viral. A few days ago a video showing four constables in the state of Uttar Pradesh, slapping and abusing a woman in a car for befriending a man of another religion, went viral. The police allegedly apprehended the couple after being tipped off by a right wing group. The couple was later released and the state police swung into action to suspend the officers.
Next, more than three years under President Joko Widodo’s administration, Papua and West Papua province have yet to show significant progress in human rights protection. This is largely due to the prevalence of security forces in the area, which the government is reluctant to evaluate and audit. Torture and extrajudicial killings continue to occur in Papua, and most incidents are not investigated or prosecuted.
Pakistan has urged China to ease pressure on the country’s Muslim minorities. China’s Uighur Muslims currently face strict restrictions on religious activities and mass detention in so-called “re-education camps”. Pakistan’s minister for religious affairs, Noorul Haq Qadri met Chinese representative Yao Xing earlier this week to discuss the treatment of the Uighur population in China’s western Xinjiang province.
Moving to Cambodia, Human Rights Watch has launched “Political Prisoners Cambodia,” a new webpage that profiles 30 prisoners jailed in the country by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Having ruled for 33 years, Hun Sen added five years to his tenure in July elections after banning the opposition. According to the leading rights watchdog, ‘recent releases and pardons were merely “attempts to regain international legitimacy after sham elections.”
A court in northern Vietnam sentenced a former primary schoolteacher to 14 years in prison after finding him guilty on charges of attempting to overthrow the communist government. Dao Quang Thuc, 58, was convicted of posting on his Facebook page articles with “reactionary content”. Dozens of activists have been convicted for violating the national security law since the beginning of the year.
Lastly, the United Nations listed 38 “shameful” countries, which had carried out reprisals or intimidation against people cooperating with it on human rights. The annual report from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also included allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalisation, and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders. In Asia, the countries included China, India, Burma, Philippines and Thailand. These governments frequently charged human rights activists with terrorism, while women cooperating with the U.N. had reported threats of rape and being subject to online smear campaigns.
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