ASIA: OHCHR must invest in justice institution reengineering to improve human rights situations

An Oral Statement to the 33rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Mr. Vice President.

We thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the update on the global human rights scenario, drawing upon the realities from the countries. As we meet, human rights defenders are prevented by some countries to travel to attend this august meeting, of which Mr. Khurram Parvez from India is one of the latest victims.

The High Commissioner has reflected in his speech about the abuse of the process of law. In all countries in Asia, perhaps with the exception of Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, the abuse of the process of criminal procedure is not a mere abrasion, but is by state design. Torture, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and disappearances are oppressive tools that the Asian states use to rule by fear and not by the law. The judiciary in our states are not independent institutions, where a victim can find reasonable remedies.

The ALRC observes that the global human rights movement is yet to look beyond the surface, and study how justice institutions function in Asian and other developing nations. The effort of the past six decades of encouraging states to agree principally to global human rights norms would be wasted, if we do not follow-through with tailor-made efforts to address structural failures of justice institutions in our countries. Conflicts that force people flee for safety from their countries seeking abode in the west is an offshoot of this problem.

Mere agreement to international norms, without setting up adequate independent machineries to breathe life into these principles at the domestic level is the game Asian states have played successfully so far. Asian states have invested the least on building justice institutions or to modernise our law enforcement agencies. We from Asia have not been able to establish justice institutions and processes that are elementary to realise the true meaning and purpose of freedom. Our independence lacks justice at its core.

This Council has a responsibility to address this issue that affects almost 60% of the world’s population.

I thank you.

Webcast video: Link [Please scroll down and click on clip number 57: Asian Legal Resource Centre]

About Admin

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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