This week Just Asia begins with India, where Shujaat Bukhaari, editor of the newspaper Rising Kashmir, was gunned down outside his office in Srinagar on June 14. A highly respected journalist, Bukhaari was known for his consistent advocacy for peace and dialogue in Kashmir. His assassination, along with that of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bangalore earlier, indicates the danger and threatening conditions facing journalists reporting on sensitive issues.
In Pakistan, a shocking judgment has acquitted Shah Hussain of stabbing his fellow student 23 times. Hussain fatally wounded 23-year-old Khadeeja Siddiqui after she rejected him romantically in May 2016. Although Hussain was initially convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in July 2017, after his appeal, the Lahore High Court acquitted Hussain of all charges. The June 4th judgment further engaged in some ‘victim bashing’, creating a huge uproar in the country, where prejudice and violence against women are widespread and rarely punished.
Next, Indonesia’s parliament has finally enacted the New Bill on Anti-Terrorism to replace the old Law No. 15 of 2003. One of the most controversial articles of the new law is article 43, which includes the military in combating terrorism. Without further explanation, the article merely states that detailed involvement of the military will be regulated under a Presidential Decree. Indonesia’s dark history of 32 years under the Suharto dictatorship, with the military involved in all matters and committing grave human rights abuses, has caused much consternation by civil society at this provision.
Moving to the UN, the Human Rights Council is in its 38th Regular Session, the last in the presence of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zeid’s departure from the office raises speculations over the future of the global human rights platform. The Asian Legal Resource Centre’s main representative to the UN, Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman, gives more details.
Next, in Balochistan’s Quetta city, on the auspicious Islamic celebration of Eid, thousands demanded the return of their beloved, allegedly abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile, a prominent Baloch activist, Mama Qadeer, who runs a campaign against missing persons in Balochistan, celebrated Eid by cleaning the photos of the missing people and those who were killed. According to Qadeer, some 45 000 Balochis are missing.
Lastly, the Burmese government signed a deal at the beginning of June with the United Nations to begin the long process of resettling some of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled their homes for neighboring Bangladesh after a brutal military campaign last year. While Burma is using the agreement as proof that it is doing right by the Rohingya, the unusually secret nature of the agreement means no outside observers are able to verify the claims.
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