ASIA: Broken Justice systems enable arbitrary detention and slavery

Speaker: Md. Ashrafuzzaman
HRC Section: General Debate – Agenda Item: 3

An Oral Statement to the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) on Arbitrary Detention & Contemporary forms of Slavery

Thank you Mr. President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre welcomes the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Slavery and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The ALRC observes that without the needed re-engineering of justice institutions, modern day slavery and arbitrary detention flourish in Asia.

Arbitrary Detention is integral to law-enforcement in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Burma. In Bangladesh, journalists and lawyers holding government to account are arbitrarily detained. Most such detainees are enmeshed in fabricated criminal cases; opposition supporters and those that fail to bribe are shot in the limbs. In Indonesia, minors to all manners of professionals fall victim to arbitrary detention and fabrication of charges. Novel Baswedan and Bambang Widjojanto, investigators of the Anti-Corruption Body (KPK), are currently detained on fabricated charges.

Without a comprehensive policy for recruitment, placement, and employment of 6 million foreign migrant workers and refugees, modern day slavery is institutionalized in Malaysia. Knee-jerk reactions to problems have led to systemic support for extreme exploitation of migrants and refugees and a culture of modern day slavery. Only clear and comprehensive policy, and regulations developed and implemented through a rights-based framework, in engagement with affected communities and related actors, can provide accountability.

Proactive response from the Special Procedures and the Council is expected to enable states to dismantle structures that facilitate slavery and degradation of rights, and to rebuild the justice systems needed to protect lives and the dignity of all persons .

Thank you, Mr. President.

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