ASIA: Flawed Justice Systems Turns to be More Inaccessible for Litigants During Pandemic

An Oral Statement to the 47th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Madam President

The report of the Special Rapporteur has comprehensively focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to justice, guaranteeing the right to fair trial, administration of justice as well as protection of the professionals involved.

The ALRC draws the attention of the Special Rapporteur to the reality that during the pre-pandemic era the justice mechanisms in Asia has been mostly dysfunctional. The authorities in most Asian countries have systematically denied universal access to justice for the victims of gross human rights abuses like enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and torture. The independence of the judiciary is highly undermined and dealt with frequent interventions by the executive authorities in countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Draconian laws are used against the dissidents to muzzle free expression and deny freedom of assembly.

The authoritarian governments take the advantage of the flawed justice institutions to impose more restrictions on the citizens in order to hide their unforgiveable mismanagement of the crisis following the COVID-19 outbreak. Dissidents and political oppositions are subjected to languish in jail having faced arbitrary detention for indefinite periods. Subjective behaviours of the judiciaries often ignore the detainees’ rights to liberty.

We request the Rapporteur to update us: 1. whether his mandate wants to start examining the flawed justice institutions that collude with the executive authorities at all time; and, 2. whether the mandate will initiate any action-oriented and time-bound programmes for improving those systemic flaws.

Thank you, Madam President.

UN Web TV Video Link: (For watching the Statement at the UN Web TV, please click the video link at 01:45:30 to find Asian Legal Resource Centre)

Document Type : ALRC Oral Statement
Document ID : ALRC-COS-47-002-2021
Countries : Asia,
Issues : Administration of justice, Civil and Political Rights, Institutional reform,