ASIA: Addressing Reprisals on HRDs Requires Accountability and Ending Impunity

HRC Agenda Item: Interactive Dialogue on the Secretary General’s report on alleged reprisals against those who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms – Agenda Item: 5

A Joint Oral Statement to the 51st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Mr. President

Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC) and FORUM-ASIA welcome the Secretary-General’s report on reprisals against those who cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms.

The prolonged judicial harassment and detention of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez by Indian authorities on trumped up terrorism charges related to his engagement with the UN demonstrates the high price many Asian defenders pay to seek accountability through the UN for all too frequent human rights violations across a region where no other avenues for accountability exist. His detention and the ongoing harassment of members of his organization Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) show the lengths India is willing to go to prevent their engagement with the UN.

Many Asian governments consider cooperating with the UN to be anti-state or treasonous significantly increasing the risk to defenders. Bangladesh, for example, has arbitrarily cancelled the registration of prominent NGO, Odhikar, and subjected its leaders, Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan to judicial harassment since May 2013, alleging that their reports to UN human rights mechanisms on the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country are ‘tarnishing the reputation and image of the state.’

Others in the region, like Indonesia – a member of this Council – have sought to undermine the integrity and credibility of UN human rights mechanisms for engaging with human rights defenders. While subjecting Papuan activists like Victor Yeimo and human rights lawyer Veronica Koman to reprisals, Indonesia has attacked special procedure mandate holders for their independent assessment of the situation in Papua – as they are mandated – instead of uncritically accepting the government’s own assessments.

The fact that many states that repeatedly commit atrocious acts of reprisals continue to remain members of this Council is a stain on its credibility. The UN, the Council and Member States must do more to hold perpetrators of reprisals to account in order to ensure its legitimacy and effectiveness.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Web TV Video Link: (For watching the Statement at the UN Web TV, please click the video link at 54:42:00 to find Asian Legal Resource Centre)

Document Type : ALRC Oral Statement
Document ID : ALRC-COS-51-002-2022
Countries : Asia,
Issues : Administration of justice, Democracy, Impunity,