Tag - Asia ( 65 )

News | UN rights experts condemn Viet Nam for incommunicado detention of blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’

Mar 08 2017

GENEVA - UN human rights experts urge the Government of Viet Nam to immediately release a popular blogger known as Mother Mushroom, who has been detained incommunicado since October last year. Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a 37-year-old environmental human rights defender, is accused of spreading propaganda against the Government. The charges are linked to her online activities that were critical of the Government. Among the issues she tackled was an incident involving the dumping of toxic chemicals in April 2016, which polluted local waters and killed a large number of fish. Ms. Quynh demanded greater governmental accountability for the environmental damage. Ms. Quynh has been blogging about human rights abuses since 2006, and she was named Civil Rights Defender of the year in 2015 by the civil society organization Civil Rights Defenders. “We are deeply concerned that Ms. Quynh is being detained because of the exercise of her right to freedom of opinion and expression on a matter of public interest,” the experts emphasized. “We fear for her physical and psychological integrity, and denounce the violations of her fundamental right to due process, in particular her being detained incommunicado, the denial of her right to legal counsel and the banning of visits from her family.” The experts... Continue reading →

News | UN expert group urges Bangladesh to stop enforced disappearances

Feb 24 2017

GENEVA – United Nations human rights experts* are calling on Bangladesh to act now to halt an increasing number of enforced disappearances in the country. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances says the number of cases has risen from a few isolated cases a few years ago, to more than 40 now, and that the number is continuing to grow. Independent reports blame the Rapid Action Battalion of the Bangladesh Police for several disappearances and extra-judicial executions, notably of political opponents of the Government. “Enforced disappearance is a heinous crime and an offence to human dignity and no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify it,” the Working Group said amid reports that abductions are being frequently used by law enforcement and security agencies. The appeal by the UN experts follows the kidnapping, allegedly by Bangladesh security forces, of three men in August last year. Hummam Quader Chowdhury, Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem and Brigadier General Abdullahil Amaan Al Azmi, were all abducted in the capital, Dhaka, in separate incidents. All three men are linked to opposition political parties. Each of their fathers had been convicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which was set up in 2009 to investigate and prosecute suspects for... Continue reading →

News | UN experts call on Malaysia to stop targeting human rights defenders under national security legislation

Dec 09 2016

GENEVA – Malaysia must protect all of its human rights defenders instead of targeting them under national security legislation, said today a group of United Nations human rights experts*. Their call comes after weeks of heightened pressure on BERSIH 2.0 – a coalition of civil society organizations campaigning for clean and fair elections – and the organizers of the Bersih 5 rally, held in three cities across Malaysia on 19 November 2016. “We are particularly concerned at the arrest of Maria Chin Abdullah, the Chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, on 18 November 2016 and her subsequent detention under the Security Offences Special Measures Act 2012 (SOSMA),” the experts said. SOSMA specifically states that no individual will be arrested under the law for ‘political activity’ or ‘belief’ and that its use is strictly restricted to matters pertaining to public order and national security. “Although Ms. Chin Abdullah has now been released, the detention of a prominent woman human rights defender under SOSMA sets a troubling precedent, by suggesting that democratic participation can be a threat to national security,” they cautioned. “Her arrest will clearly have a chilling effect on civil society participation”. Ms. Chin Abdullah, who was the first peaceful activist to be detained... Continue reading →

News | UN experts urge India to release prominent human rights defender detained for over a month

Oct 19 2016

GENEVA – A group of United Nations experts today called on the Government of India to immediately release human rights defender Khurram Parvez, arrested last month for alleged activities against public order. Mr. Parvez is the coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS), and the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). “Mr. Parvez is a well-known and outspoken human rights defender who has had a longstanding and positive engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms,” the experts said. “His continued detention following his arrest just a few days before his participation in the UN Human Rights Council, suggests a deliberate attempt to obstruct his legitimate human rights activism.” On 14 September, Mr. Parvez was on his way to Geneva to attend the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council when he was prevented from traveling out of India by airport authorities in Delhi. He was then detained on 16 September under sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, released on 20 September, yet detained again the same day. He remains today in preventive detention, under the highly controversial Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act. The UN experts conveyed their concerns to the Government of India, but the official information... Continue reading →

News | 대한민국: 유엔 인권 전문가들은 물대포의 치명적 사용에 대한 독립적인 조사를 촉구한다

Sep 28 2016

(English) 제네바 (2016년 9월 28일) - 마이나 키아이(Maina Kiai) 유엔 평화적 집회 맟 결사의 자유 특별보고관은 한국 집회 참가자 백남기 농민이 지난 9월 25일 사망한 데 크게 낙심하며, 백남기 농민을 죽음에 이르게 한 2015년 경찰의 물대포 사용과 관련하여 독립적이고 완전한 조사를 할 것을 촉구한다. 69세 농민인 백씨는 2015년 11월 14일, 서울에서 열린 평화로운 집회에 참석했다가 경찰이 쏜 물대포에 맞아서 땅에 쓰러졌다. 그는 사망할 때까지 의식이 없었다. “이 비극적 죽음에 대해 백남기 농민의 가족과 친구들에게 깊은 위로를 전한다. 2016년 1월 한국을 공식 방문 했을 때 서울에서, 그리고 지난 6월 제네바에서 백남기 농민의 딸들을 만날 기회가 있었다. 그토록 참혹한 시간 속에서도 아버지를 위해 정의를 찾으려는 그들의 용기와 투지에 겸허해졌다”라고 키아이 특별보고관은 말했다. 키아이 특별보고관은 “2015년 11월 민중총궐기 당시 경찰의 물대포 사용에 대해 철저하고 독립적인 수사를 실시할 것을 촉구한다. 동영상을 통해 볼 때 물대포 사용이 백남기 농민을 죽음에 이르게 한... Continue reading →

News | South Korea: UN rights expert calls for independent investigation into lethal use of water cannon

Sep 28 2016

(한국어 - unofficial translation) GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, expressed dismay over the 25 September death of South Korean protester Baek Nam-gi, and called for a full and independent investigation into the police’s use of a water cannon last year that led to his death. Mr. Baek, a 69-year old farmer, was knocked to the ground by a water cannon operated by the police while taking part in a peaceful rally in Seoul on 14 November 2015. He had remained in a coma until his passing. “I express my deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of Mr. Baek Nam-gi for this tragic loss. I had the chance to meet Mr. Baek’s daughters in Seoul during my country visit in January 2016 and in Geneva last June. I was very humbled by their courage and determination to seek justice for their father in such harrowing times,” Mr. Kiai said. “I call for a full and independent investigation into the police’s use of water cannon during the rally of November 2015 that unambiguously led to Mr. Baek’s death according to video footage available,” the expert stated. “The perpetrators should be held accountable and the family of Mr. Baek receive appropriate compensation; in addition, adequate measures... Continue reading →

News | Bill’s adoption threatens freedom of expression in the Maldives, UN expert warns

Aug 10 2016

GENEVA -- The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, deplored the adoption on 9 August of the “Protection of Reputation and Good Name and Freedom of Expression Bill” by Parliament in the Maldives, warning that it limits the right to freedom of expression to such a degree that the right itself is in jeopardy. His call was endorsed by Special Rapporteurs Maina Kiai and Michel Forst. “Criminalising speech on such vague and broad grounds as set out in the Bill is a direct attack on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression in the Maldives,” said Mr. Kaye. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and any restrictions on it must be a narrowly and objectively defined, not a matter of common routine.” The adopted Bill would criminalise speech deemed to be defamatory, to comment against “any tenet of Islam”, to “threaten national security” or to “contradict general social norms”. Those committing an offence under the bill can face fines and failure to pay the fine will result in jail sentence of three to six months. Mr. Kaye underlined his concerns on the vague use of religion, social norms and defamation as reasons for punishing expression. “The broad grounds for restrictions in the Bill contradict not only international human rights standards... Continue reading →

News | UN experts urge China to stop ill-treatment of human rights defender Guo Feixiong

Aug 04 2016

GENEVA – A group of United Nations independent experts, including Maina Kiai, today expressed deep concern about the critical health condition of prominent Chinese human rights defender Yang Maodong, known by his pen-name Guo Feixiong. They called on the Government of China to urgently provide Mr. Guo with specialized medical care, based on his full and informed consent, and stop all forms of ill-treatment. “We are concerned about repeated incidents of degrading and humiliating treatment suffered by Mr Guo in detention, both at the hands of other inmates and prison guards at Yangchun Prison in Guangdong province,” they said. Mr. Guo has been on a hunger strike for almost three months demanding to be transferred to another prison where he would be free from ill-treatment. “His public profile as a human rights defender seems to have been the cause and aggravating factor for the denial of appropriate medical care and ill-treatment, which included sleep deprivation, harassment, and humiliating medical procedure filmed by prison officials for public release,” the experts stated. The human rights defender was arrested in August 2013 for taking part in a public protest against official censorship of a Guangzhou newspaper. In November 2015, he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment on charges... Continue reading →

News | UN Expert urges Thailand to ensure free debate ahead of the constitutional referendum

Jul 26 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the alarmingly high number of arrests and charges over public and social media expression brought under military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act in Thailand. The Act, adopted ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for 7 August, criminalises expression and access to information about the draft constitution. His call was endorsed by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai and one other UN expert. Since June this year, it is reported that at least 86 people have been investigated or charged under the government clampdown on dissenting voices ahead of the 7 August vote. Earlier this month, several activists were charged under the Constitutional Referendum Act for a campaign urging voters to reject the draft constitution. A journalist covering the campaign was also arrested and charged with violating the Act. Violation of the Act carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, heavy fines and the loss of voting rights for 10 years “I am seriously concerned that military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act restrict expression and access to information about the draft constitution,” Mr. Kaye said. “The idea of a referendum is to allow for full debate followed by... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts condemn killing of Cambodian political analyst and activist Kem Ley

Jul 13 2016

GENEVA – A group of United Nations human rights experts, including Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai, today condemned the murder of Cambodian political analyst and social activist Kem Ley, known for his struggle for justice and human rights in Cambodia. "We are shocked to learn about the death of Mr. Kem Ley. We call for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the crime that ensures no perpetrator goes unpunished. This investigation should be conducted by an independent body with no ties to the government.” Mr. Kem Ley, who was shot dead at a convenience store in a petrol station on 10 July, was the founder of the grassroots network Khmer for Khmer and a prominent political commentator who had frequently criticised the government. His network had recently registered the Grassroots Democracy Party with the intention of fielding candidates for local elections in 2017. Prior to his civic engagement work, he had had a prominent role in the HIV and health sector for many years. “The circumstances of Mr. Kem Ley’s death have given rise to deep concerns in view of his standing as a critic of the government and his regular comments in the media highlighting governance and human rights concerns,” the experts said. The Special Rapporteurs welcomed the Cambodian... Continue reading →