ASIA: Upholding Truth and Justice or Protecting Religious Freedom is impossible without capable justice institutions

An Oral Statement to the 34th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteurs on Truth Justice Reconciliation and Freedom of Religion

Mr. President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to bring to the attention of this Council that irrespective of the international documents a state is party to, truth, justice, reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence is impossible at the domestic level, without functioning national justice institutions that are equipped, independent and willing to be the first line of defence to human rights violations. This principle, of having domestic institutions, also applies to guarantee freedom of religion and belief.

In the Asian context where the ALRC operates, decades have passed since gross human rights abuses have occurred in some states, like the disappearances of thousands of persons, yet with no sight of justice rendered to the victims. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal and Punjab, Assam and Kashmir in India are examples.

The Asian region also faces challenges to freedom of religion and belief. The Ahmadiyya, Hindus and Christians of Pakistan, Dalits of India and Nepal, and the Christians of West Papua in Indonesia despite being a majority religion in the province are examples.

The ALRC is of the experience that without adequately functioning domestic criminal justice institutions, neither can the past violations be accounted for, nor the ongoing ones ended. Unfortunately, it is this basic understanding that is often lacking in international engagements with Asian states, particularly at the UN. The ALRC therefore wishes to enquire from this Council, whether it has in its plan to engage with the Asian states about the primitive nature of Asia’s justice processes, and for such an engagement what assistance could the civil societies like the ALRC be?

Thank you, Mr. President.

Webcast video: Link (Please scroll down and click on clip number 9 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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