Tag - South Asia ( 14 )

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 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 | 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 rights experts urge India to repeal law restricting NGO’s access to crucial foreign funding

Jun 16 2016

GENEVA – Three United Nations human rights experts today called on the Government of India to repeal the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which is been increasingly used to obstruct civil society’s access to foreign funding, and fails to comply with international human rights norms and standards. “We are alarmed that FCRA provisions are being used more and more to silence organisations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities, which may differ from those backed by the Government,” said the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on freedom of association, Maina Kiai. The experts’ call comes as the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs suspended for six months the registration of the non-governmental organization Lawyers Collective, under the FCRA. The suspension was imposed on the basis of allegations that its founders, human rights lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, violated the act provisions by using foreign funding for purposes other than intended. Despite detailed evidence provided by the NGO to rebut all allegations and prove that all foreign contributions were spent and accounted for in line with FCRA, the suspension was still applied. “We are... Continue reading →

News | India: Special Rapporteur’s legal analysis argues restrictions on foreign funding contrary to international law

Apr 22 2016

NAIROBI/GENEVA - United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has published a legal analysis arguing that India's Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) - which regulates foreign funding to certain individuals, associations and companies - is not conformity with international law, principles and standards. The analysis, which was submitted to the Government of India on April 20, 2016, is available here. The FCRA, which was enacted in 2010, bars “organizations of a political nature” from accepting foreign contributions. Acceptance of foreign contributions may further be prohibited where the Government “is satisfied that the acceptance of foreign contribution… is likely to affect prejudicially… public interest.” The law has come under scrutiny in recent years, with some sources reporting that nearly 14,000 NGOs have seen their licenses to receive foreign funding revoked by the Government. The Special Rapporteur argues that the ability of civil society organizations to access resources, including foreign funding, is a fundamental part of the right to freedom of association under international law, standards, and principles – and more particularly part of the right to form an association. He further asserts that India’s limitations on access to foreign funding do not meet... Continue reading →

Report | India communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with India by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from India. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of India, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint urgent appeal, 29/7/2011. Case no. IND 14/2011. State Reply: 03/08/2011. Alleged acts of violence and intimidation in the context of forced evictions. Joint urgent appeal, 5/8/2011. Case no. IND 16/2011. State Reply: 08/08/2011. Detention and allegations of acts of intimidation against residents of the villages located on... Continue reading →

Report | Pakistan communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Pakistan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Pakistan. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Pakistan, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint allegation letter, 30/12/2011. Case no. PAK 17/2010. State Reply: None to date. Alleged killing of a human rights defender. Observations The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply has been received from the Government of Pakistan to the allegation letter sent during the reporting period. He considers responses to... Continue reading →

Report | Maldives communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Maldives by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Maldives. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Maldives, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint urgent appeal, 29/02/2012. Case no. MDV 2/2012. State Reply: None to date. Allegations of excessive use of force against protestors belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Observations The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of the Maldives did not respond to his communication dated 29 February... Continue reading →

Report | Nepal Communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Nepal by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2016 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Nepal. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) – the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Nepal, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) None Second Report (March 16, 2012 to February 28, 2013) None Third Report (March 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014) Joint urgent appeal, 22/03/2013. Case no. NPL 1/2013. State reply: none to date. Alleged threats of violence widely published in mass media and official harassment of human rights defenders and an alleged physical attack... Continue reading →

News | Bangladesh NGOs: UN expert warns against proposed funding bill

Nov 06 2015

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, on Friday urged the Bangladeshi Parliament not to adopt a bill which could severely restrict civil society organizations’ access to funding and hinder their activities. The draft Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act is expected to be debated during the next Parliament session starting 8 November 2015. “This Bill is deeply worrying. Civil society is a crucial component for the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law, and for contributing to the provision of humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Kiai said. “Unduly restricting civil society organizations’ access to resources therefore not only has a detrimental impact on freedom of association, but also deeply undermines the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that these organizations seek to promote and protect,” he stressed. The Special Rapporteur noted that the proposed law would, among other problematic issues, make it compulsory for NGOs seeking to receive or use foreign funds to register with the Government-controlled Non-Governmental Organizations Affairs Bureau, and obtain its approval for each project undertaken with these resources. The... Continue reading →