ASIA: Arbitrary Detention Continues with Denial of Access to Justice and Increases Poverty

An Oral Statement to the 47th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Madam President:

The report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention focusing on drug policies sheds lights on the darker sides of the justice mechanisms of many States. It also indicates the attitudes of the legislatures towards the citizens lacking compassion and comprehensive programmes to address the holistic impacts involving drugs.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wants to emphasise that arbitrary detention without any credible system of accountability of the law-enforcement agencies is one of the core human rights violations across Asia. There are complicities among the three branches of the States in Asia while arbitrary detention is a key tool. The Executive Branch decides to silence the dissidents and political oppositions; the Legislature adopts laws allowing arbitrary detention under vague provisions empowering the law-enforcement agencies to arrest whimsically; and the Judiciary deliberately overlooks the arbitrary nature of law and the act of detaining people by the police while the right to liberty is infringed.

In countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, and Indonesia detainees languish in jails without having universal access to justice. The perpetrators enjoy impunity and rewards from the governments for abusing the police power.

The existing partnerships amongst many States in the pretext of ‘counter terrorism’ and ‘national security’ enable the authoritarian governments to unleash arbitrary detention. Often detention is inseparable from coercion of desired confessions through torture. As tragic consequences, arbitrary detention leads to deaths of numerous detainees in custody.

The Working Group can initiate exclusive studies on the aspects of denial of access to justice for arbitrarily detained people triggering extreme poverty in Asia.

Thank you, Madam President.

UN Web TV Video Link: (For watching the Statement at the UN Web TV, please click the video link at 59:40 to find Asian Legal Resource Centre)

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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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