ASIA: The need to remove certainty of impunity for extra-judicial killings in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines

date: May 31, 2011
document id: ALRC-COS-17-05-2011
HRC section: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial executions

Speaker: Mr. Michael Anthony

An Oral Statement to the 17th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization in general consultative status

ASIA: The need to remove certainty of impunity for extra-judicial killings in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines

Thank you,

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) thanks the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions for his report and work. The ALRC continues to document an alarming number of extra-judicial killings in Pakistan, notably in Balochistan province, by Pakistan¡¦s intelligence agencies and Frontier Corps. During the first four months of 2011, as many 25 journalists, human rights defenders and political activists have been killed there, typically after having been arbitrarily arrested, disappeared and tortured. Each week, further cases are being reported.

Furthermore, fake ¡§encounter killings¡¨ are used to justify numerous other extra-judicial killings in Pakistan. Human rights defender Mr. Muhammad Yousuf Butt has suffered a terrible reprisal for his work concerning land-grabbing in Karachi, for example. On December 28, 2010, his son Muhammad Ali Butt, was arbitrarily detained by the police. The next day his father was told that he had been killed the previous night in a police encounter. His body had six bullet wounds to the torso and numerous torture marks. The post-mortem report invalidates claims of a police encounter. To date, no investigation has been launched, no-one has been arrested, and the victim¡¦s family-members have instead been subjected to death threats.

In the Philippines, the government is failing to act effectively concerning past and ongoing killings. Most of those who document killings have now reportedly either been killed themselves, or are too fearful to continue such work. Mr. Rapporteur, have you yet been able to follow up on the important recommendations made by your predecessor with the government of the Philippines and have you received any satisfactory responses from them?

The ALRC is also gravely concerned by the reports of numerous extra-judicial killings by State security forces in the Terai region of Nepal, and the government¡¦s rejection of recommendations concerning this issue during the UPR, as well as its rejection of findings of an OHCHR-Nepal office report into these killings.

In Bangladesh, the police and Rapid Action Battalion are responsible for an estimated 1400 extra-judicial killings in the last seven years, with at least 127 having taken place in 2010. The criminal justice system is absolutely incapable of addressing killings allegedly committed by State agents. No investigations are carried out and there are no medico-legal facilities to gather evidence required to produce successful prosecutions. The ALRC has been particularly shocked by the attempted killing of human rights defender FMA Razzak, on April 29, 2011, who was beaten severely, including having his eyes gouged, and was left for dead. The ALRC is currently witnessing a serious clampdown on human rights defenders who dare to work to document cases of killings in the country.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, what can be done to address widespread killings by State agents in countries where credible investigations and successful prosecutions are lacking? Without taking into account these systemic obstacles, the ALRC believes that efforts by the international system are unlikely to be effective. The ALRC urges Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines to issue standing invitations to the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, and to take all measures necessary to develop institutions capable of dismantling the systems of impunity that currently thrive within their borders.

About ALRC

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.

Related posts

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.