This week Just Asia begins with India, where the Delhi High Court sentenced 16 police officers to life imprisonment Wednesday, for killing 42 Muslim men in 1987. Setting aside a lower court’s acquittal of the 16 officials of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, the High Court called the killings that took place in Hashimpura “a targeted killing by the armed forces.” Though excruciatingly late, the conviction is expected to give victims’ family members some closure, and hope to others wronged by law enforcement agencies.
In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena’s shocking decision to appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister has raised fears about the country’s return to past abusive practices. The sudden announcement last Friday to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was made without informing parliament or the cabinet.
Next, India has once again been included in the Committee for the Protection of Journalists’ Global Impunity Index. For 2018, the Index included countries that had five or more unsolved murders of journalists killed for their work. With 18 unresolved cases, India landed at the 14th position. The Impunity Index is published annually to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2.
Late Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer, Asma Jahangir, was posthumously announced as one of the winners of the UN Human Rights Prize on October 26. Jahangir was chosen for the prize along with three others, including Rebeca Gyumi of Tanzania, Brazil’s first indigenous lawyer Joenia Wapichana and Ireland’s human rights organisation Front Line Defenders. Asma Jahangir died earlier this year on February 11th, due to cardiac arrest. She was known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit of human rights.
Moving to Cambodia, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, is currently visiting the country. During her 11-day visit ending next Thursday, Smith is to meet senior government officials, representatives of civil society and members of the diplomatic community.
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