Tag - Southeast Asia ( 20 )

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 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 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 →

News | UN experts urge Viet Nam to stop the persecution and torture of religious leaders and rights defenders

Jun 03 2016

GENEVA – United Nations human rights experts today called on the Government of Viet Nam to stop the persecution of Ms. Tran Thi Hong, who has been repeatedly arrested and tortured as retaliation for informing the international community of human rights violations against her husband, who is in prison for peaceful religious activities. The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, also urged the Vietnamese authorities to put an end to all persecution and harassment, including criminalization, against religious leaders and human rights defenders, women human rights defenders and members of their families. Their appeal was endorsed by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai and others. Ms. Tran, spouse of imprisoned Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, was initially arrested on 14 April 2016. She was tortured and warned to stop her activities promoting freedom of religion. Since then, Ms. Tran Thi Hong has been repeatedly arrested and harassed by the authorities, who are trying to force her to ‘cooperate’ with the Government. “We are concerned that the repeated arrests and the continuing detention of Ms. Tran resulted from her peaceful human rights work and exercise of her fundamental rights, which constitutes arbitrary... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts urge Cambodia to stop attacks against civil society and human rights defenders

May 12 2016

GENEVA – United Nations human rights experts, including Maina Kiai, today called on the Government of Cambodia to stop targeting civil society, human rights defenders, parliamentarians and UN personnel, and to take effective measures to protect civil society and respect fundamental freedoms in the country. “The escalation of criminal charges, questioning, court proceedings and public statements against them must cease,” the experts said. “We urge the Cambodian authorities to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and civil society, which play a critical role in holding the Government to account and bringing benefits of human rights to the whole of Cambodian society.” The human rights experts’ appeal comes as the courts investigate an alleged extra-marital affair of an opposition parliamentarian, as well as the related allegations of bribery brought against staff members of a prominent human rights organisation ADHOC. An anti-terrorism department inexplicably initiated these charges, and then anti-corruption unit further pursued the case after ADHOC had provided legal and material support. “We are also troubled by the actions taken by Cambodian authorities to deter and disperse peaceful demonstrations and arrest individuals protesting what they see as... Continue reading →

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

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Cambodia 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 Cambodia. 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 Cambodia, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint allegation letter, 13/05/2011. Case no. KHM 3/2011. State Reply: None to date. Allegation that a draft NGO Law may hamper legitimate work in the promotion of human rights. Joint allegation letter, 26/09/2011. Case no. KHM 5/2011. State Reply: 09/01/2012; 23/01/2012. Alleged suspension, warnings and acts of... Continue reading →

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

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Myanmar 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 Myanmar. 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 Myanmar, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint allegation letter, 23/02/2012. Case no. MMR 1/2012. State Reply: None to date. Alleged conviction of 32 lawyers in relation to the exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as for providing legal representation and assistance, and their subsequent disbarment... Continue reading →

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

Feb 28 2016

This page summarizes cases raised with Viet Nam 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 Viet Nam. 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 Viet Nam, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint urgent appeal, 29/07/2011. Case no. VNM 3/2011. State Reply: 06/09/2011. Alleged sentencing of human rights defenders. Joint urgent appeal, 01/12/2011. Case no. VNM 7/2011. State Reply: 16/04/2012. Alleged on-going detention and conviction of human rights defenders. Observations The Special Rapporteur thanks the... Continue reading →

News | “Cambodia’s NGO Bill threatens a free and independent civil society” – UN expert urges Senate to reject it

Jul 15 2015

GENEVA – United Nations human rights expert Maina Kiai today called on the Cambodian Senate to reject the draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) that “unequivocally threatens the very existence of a free and independent civil society in Cambodia.” The NGO Bill will soon be examined by the Senate, after being approved on Monday 13 July by the Cambodian National Assembly. The Bill was unanimously adopted by the 68 parliamentarians belonging to the ruling party, while the 55 parliamentarians in the opposition boycotted the vote. “Should the draft law be adopted, any group advocating for human rights, basic freedoms and good governance may be shut down and criminalized. It will ultimately have a disastrous impact on Cambodian citizens’ democratic participation in furthering the development of their country,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association warned. “I urge the Senate to reject entirely the Bill as it direly falls short of international human rights norms governing freedom of association, in particular Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Cambodia acceded in 1992,” Mr. Kiai said. The Special Rapporteur highlighted that, under the draft law, associations and NGOs... Continue reading →