ASIA: Democratic Governance Equipped with the Rule of Law Required for Ending Arbitrary Deprivation of Life

An Oral Statement to the 50th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Mr. President

The Special Rapporteur’s report on “Medico-legal death investigations” has comprehensively covered the highly necessary aspects regarding medico-legal investigation into deaths involving extrajudicial or summary executions.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) is not surprised that in the report’s ‘Best Practices’ component there is no reference to the Asian states. The ALRC’s experience suggests medico-legal investigation and forensic examination as an integral part of the criminal justice mechanisms is not made a priority in the region.

The policy of keeping a bad-governance coupled with dysfunctional justice mechanisms to nourish a corruption-friendly institutional settings is preferably cherished by many policymakers who hardly come up with the political-will to enhance the justice systems with adequate financial and technical resources. Many Asian states like Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand use extrajudicial and summary execution as their governance and law-enforcement policy. These states use arbitrary deprivation of life with impunity citing the excuse of ‘counter-terrorism’, ‘war on drug’, ‘combatting militancy’, and ‘safeguarding national security’ to control the dissidents either in an electoral democracy or in an authoritarian or militarized rule.

The Member States of the Council can raise their voice and extend support for the work of the Special Rapporteur to encourage the States of Asia to equip their criminal justice systems incorporating modern medico-legal investigation and forensic examination facilities with financial and institutional independence.

Thank you, Mr. President. UN Web TV Video Link: (For watching the Statement at the UN Web TV, please click the video link at 03:13:00 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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