United Nations Press Release


Commission on Human Rights
58th session
16 April 2002

Forty-Two Non-Governmental Organizations
Address the Commission Highlighting Cases of Torture, Detention,
Disappearances, Summary Executions in many Parts of the World

The Commission on Human Rights this afternoon continued its debate on civil and political rights by hearing 42 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) allege, among other things, involvement of Governments in cases of torture, detention, disappearances and summary executions around the world.

The NGOs also highlighted situations where the freedom of expression and religious belief were repressed by Governments. A number of speakers said that anti-terrorism legislation enacted in many countries had restricted the fundamental freedoms of many citizens, and underlined that the 11 September events should not be taken as a pretext to curtail the human rights of people.

The representatives of the following non-governmental organizations participated in the debate: International PEN; International Buddhist Foundation; MINBYUN: Lawyers for a Democratic Society; Organization for Defending Victims of Violence; Human Rights Advocates International; International Council of Jewish Women; Asian Legal Resource Centre; World Muslim Congress; Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation; International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and Other Minorities; Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees; Organization tunisienne de jeunes medicins sans frontieres; China Society for Human Rights; European Union Public Relations; Anti-Slavery International; International Human Rights Law Group; Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights; International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Franciscans International; Survival International; Centre Europe -Tiers Monde; Arab Organization for Human Rights; Catholic Institute for International Relations; International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples; Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization; Minority Rights Group; Nord-Sud XXI; Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”; Association of World Educators; International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs; American Association of Jurists; International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies; International Institute for Peace; Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme; Indian Council of Education; Commission of Churches of International Affairs of the World Council of Churches; ALIRAN Kesedaran Negara National Consciousness Movement; Liberal International; International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights; Interfaith International; Union Nationale de la Femme Tunisienne; and Al-Khoei Foundation.

ASMIN FRANSISKA, of the Asian Legal Resource Centre, said in recent months the Centre’s attention had been drawn to the case of Stephen Khan, a Kashmiri asylum seeker who had been held in detention by the Australian authorities for three and a half years. Mr. Khan’s case was indicative of the unjust system for determining asylum claims in Australia. The Centre urged the Commission to condemn the Australian Government’s policies toward asylum seekers and to pressure Australia to grant visas to genuine claimants, including Mr. Khan, without further delay. The Centre had also been shocked by the massacre of twenty-one people of Burmese origin on the Mae Lamao stream, Tak province in Thailand during the last week of January 2002. The Commission was called upon to exert pressure on the Government of Thailand to find a satisfactory outcome for this case at the nearest possible date. A review of Thai Government policies for protection of migrant workers was also needed. The Centre also raised concern as to human rights situations in Malaysia and Indonesia and urged the Commission to act against human rights violations in these countries.

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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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