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Peace, Diversity and Right to Self-Determination

'366 days (as of 20th Feb) is a long time to be at a 24 hour roadside protest. That’s how long Tamil families of disappeared in Kilinochchi have been there. In the coming days and weeks, protests by families of disappeared in Vavuniya, Mullaithivu, Maruthankerny (Jaffna district) and Trincomalee will also reach one year.', writes Ruki Fernando, advisor at INFORM, Sri Lanka and Executive Committee member of FORUM-ASIA in an article for Groundviews

Featured image courtesy Amalini De Sayrah 366 days (as of 20th Feb) is a long time to be at a 24 hour roadside protest. That’s how long Tamil families of disappeared in Kilinochchi have been there.…

FORUM-ASIA, Amnesty International, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights and International Service for Human Rights sent a joint open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The letter urges the UN to appoint a capable, strong and qualified High Commissioner for Human Rights, to vigorously defend the High Commissioner’s Office’s ability to operate without interference, and select a new High Commissioner capable of ensuring its independence.


'The activist balance: being both globally connected and locally rooted - In the volatility in Asia’s human rights situations, can rights defenders and organizations stay globally connected while remaining rooted in grassroots efforts?', an article by Urantsooj Gombosuren, Chairperson of Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia and Chair FORUM-ASIA and Marte Hellema, Programme Manager at FORUM-ASIA for openGlobalRights.

In the volatility in Asia's human rights situations, can rights defenders and organizations stay globally connected while remaining rooted in grassroots efforts?

FORUM-ASIA member from #Nepal, Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC) - Insec Human Rights Library, published its "Human Rights Year Book 2018". The report documents human rights violations in all seven provinces of the country in 2017.

Click on the link to download the report.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development

FORUM-ASIA and 63 other organisations and communities, express grave concern regarding the Royal Government of Cambodia’s proposed amendments to the Constitution, as well as the proposed introduction of a lèse-majesté offense to Cambodia’s Criminal Code.

These proposed amendments constitute a severe threat to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and are clearly designed to further criminalize any individual or entity that dares to express legitimate dissent. We are deeply concerned by this cynical attempt to deny the Cambodian people the fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled, and call for the outright rejection of these proposed amendments.

FORUM-ASIA member, Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) condemns the conduct of the Maldives Police Service on 16 February 2018 by using excessive force to disperse demonstrators, especially the conduct against journalists covering the protests in the capital, Male’ City.

MDN calls on authorities to be vigilant and observe that identities and photographs of alleged perpetrators of violence against the journalists that have been circulating in the public, and to use these resources and witnesses to fully investigate these crimes.

'The potential impact of any ombudsman in curbing fake news depends on the perception of person appointed, and the people following what he or she does.', says FORUM-ASIA in article about proposal for Press Ombudsman in Malaysia by The Malay Mail, 'Assuring that the appointee has a good code of conduct that he or she can use to do the job, will greatly improve the ability to monitor or label fake news, but the climate in which he or she will operate will be detrimental.'

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Industry watchdogs and an academic lauded the recent announcement by a press group to establish a press ombudsman as a way to self-regulate the media, but cautioned that the body should not be tasked to tackle “fake

ANFREL - Asian Network for Free Elections is looking for a new Executive Director to be based at its office in Bangkok. Deadline for applications is 15 March 2018 17:00 Bangkok time. For more information, click here.

Position ID: FY2018.ExeDir Hours: Full-time, Regular Location: Bangkok, Thailand– ANFREL Headquarters Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications Deadline of Submission: 15 March 2018 | 17.00 [Bangkok Time]

The Times of India reports on next step in case of FORUM-ASIA Director, Mukunda Kattel, who was detained at airport in India last December.

Madurai: Officials of the immigration department on Tuesday appeared before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court in a case relating to the deten.

'Human right is a way of life. Human rights mean truly caring for and loving humanity.' In an interview with Yati Andriyani from Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan - KontraS, Yati shared with FORUM-ASIA her journey with the human rights movement, challenges, and how she was inspired by people she worked with.

"It indicates a grave underestimation or disregard for the risk to life and liberty refugees face when [sent] back to their countries. As such, it is hoped that this particular case will remain an exception, and not turn into a precedent.”, says FORUM-ASIA in article in The Phnom Penh Post about Sam Sokha, who was extradited by Thailand back to Cambodia last week, “While the Cambodian government might be inclined to reciprocate this move by its neighbouring country, FORUM-ASIA reminds Cambodia that it is a state party to the UN Refugee Convention, and as such is obligated to uphold all of its provisions, including those relating to non-refoulement.”

Refugee rights groups have expressed grave concerns that Thailand’s recent extradition of Cambodian refugee Sam Sokha could set a “dangerous precedent” and impact the scores of opposition figures currently seeking refuge in Thailand.

In an open letter to the President of the Maldives, FORUM-ASIA's member Maldivian Democracy Network denounced that 'deploying the police and military to enter the Supreme Court to arrest and detain Supreme Court justices, is a crime that every person actively involved...' and urged the President to keep all actions within the boundaries of the law.

FORUM-ASIA expresses grave concern over the on-going revision of the Indonesian Criminal Code. The amendments to the Criminal Code are a setback for the country as they are inherently discriminatory and potentially harmful to the fundamental freedoms of the people, especially the rights to the freedom of expression, assembly and association.

This poses a threat to human rights in the region, given the strategic and leadership role Indonesia plays in the Association of Asian Nations (ASEAN). The debate and proposed amendments in Indonesia, might, and in some cases already has, set a negative precedent for neighbouring countries to follow. Discriminatory laws should not set the norm in the region. Therefore, we hold the Government of Indonesia accountable to its commitment to human rights, not just for the country itself, but for the entire region.

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Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development

FORUM-ASIA is deeply saddened by the sudden demise of eminent human rights defender, lawyer and social activist Asma Jahangir in Lahore, after she suffered a cardiac arrest on 11 February 2018. Asma Jahangir was known for her social activities in Pakistan and South Asia on gender, minority and human rights.

FORUM-ASIA and its members express deep condolences to the family and loved ones of Asma Jahangir, and to the human rights community as a whole. Her passion, knowledge, energy, and inspiring dedication to human rights will be remembered in the decades to come.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development

FORUM-ASIA welcomes the move of the International Criminal Court - ICC to proceed with the preliminary examination of complaints in relation to alleged crimes falling within its jurisdiction under the ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines.

FORUM-ASIA urges the Government of the Philippines, as a State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, to respect the decision of the ICC and fulfil its international obligation by fully cooperating with the Court within its jurisdiction.