ASIA: States that crush right to peaceful assembly and democratic struggles do not deserve to be in Human Rights Council

An Oral Statement to the 35th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Mr. President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre wishes to call for the immediate intervention of this Council on situations that has trampled upon the freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Bangladesh, Thailand, China, and Cambodia.

Bangladesh government does not allow political and social groups other than those who are allies to the incumbent government to exercise the rights of freedom of assembly and association.

Thailand in particular calls for such attention, that now the military sponsored administration is considered to be legitimate. It baffles common sense that despite the incumbent government in Thailand has openly negated every conceivable mandate under the ICCPR, agencies of the UN and other international organisations continues to operate out of their Asian regional offices in Bangkok.

The ordinary Thai citizen risks arbitrary arrest, torture, and prison sentence, if she/he were to demand from his government what the UN and its human rights mandate stands for. Civil society organisations, political parties, and even professional or academic groups are prevented from organising publically to demand from their government, democracy.

Similarly, in China, the government through its newly enacted law on cyber security has legalised official control of all communications, particularly of those who are ‘accused of’ standing up for human rights. Today, it is cliché to allege that lawyers in China who defend victims of human rights abuse are treated as a threat to the nation and are arbitrarily detained or are disappeared.

Cambodia has just completed its election to its Communes. It is no surprise that the political party led by the incumbent Prime Minister has emerged the winner. This is because of the absolute control of the government upon the freedom of peaceful association and assembly of the citizens, wherein anything that is even remotely interpreted as against the Prime Minister’s absolute hold on power is crushed by the incumbent government.

The ALRC therefore wishes to pose this question to the Council, that what actions could this Council conceive, so that states like Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, and Thailand that are for long periods of time engaged in crushing peaceful people’s movement for democracy and freedom, are compelled to practice the human rights norms that these states have signed up to, while seeking membership to this august Council?

Thank you, Mr. President.

Webcast video: Link (Please scroll down and click on clip number 21 to find the statement presented by the 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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