This week Just Asia begins with Hong Kong, where Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the government will not drop the controversial amendment to the territory’s extradition laws, despite 12,000 people marching against it last Sunday. The amendment allowing Hong Kong to extradite to other countries, including China, on a case by case basis, was to be tabled at the legislature Wednesday. The biggest concern is regarding China’s legal and political system, which is regularly criticized.
Next, in Malaysia, a public inquiry by the human rights commission has concluded that a Christian pastor and Muslim activist were disappeared by the police special branch for alleged proselytization. Amri Che Mat, who ran a charity group, disappeared after leaving his home on November 24, 2016. Pastor Raymond Koh disappeared in central Selangor state on February 13, 2017. The findings have stunned Malaysians and prompted calls by rights groups, lawmakers and a Christian organization for a new investigation to find the truth and punish the perpetrators.
In Pakistan, a video showing a bruised woman whose head was shaved by her husband has sparked outrage on social media. Asma Aziz, from Lahore, posted the video last month, in which she accused her husband, Mian Faisal, of torturing her after she refused to dance for his friends at their home. The case has raised fresh concerns about women’s safety in Pakistan, with human rights group Amnesty International calling for “systemic change” in the country.
Moving to Indonesia, political tension is increasing in the country, due to the upcoming presidential elections. The intensive campaigning between the two presidential candidates, incumbent Mr. Joko Widodo, and Mr. Prabowo Subianto, has seen the spread of fake news and hate speech among the supporters of the two candidates. Each candidate’s supporters have been competing to file police reports against any form of social media posting or status that is suspected of being fake or contains hate speech. To make matters worse, there have also been calls to enforce the Anti-Terrorism Law in eradicating fake news.
Lastly, Cambodia drew fresh criticism last week from both a major human rights organization and the leaders of several trade organizations over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s refusal to release opposition leader Kem Sohka from house arrest, and other rights abuses. In a statement last Thursday, Human Rights Watch called for Kem Sohka’s immediate release. Several leaders of international garment, footwear and travel goods buyers also issued a joint letter to Hun Sen calling for concrete steps to be taken so that the EU would not revoke the country’s preferential trade status.
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