This week’s episode begins with Indonesia, where the trial of 26 human rights defenders began on March 21. The criminal charges against them are believed to be part of the government’s effort to end demands for labour welfare and for the cancellation of Government Regulation No. 78, which supports cheap labor in Indonesia. Just Asia talks to Yunita Purnama, legal counsel for the 26 defenders, for more information.
In India, five persons have been arrested in connection to the death of two Muslim cow herders on March 18. The two, Muhammad Majloom, 35, and Azad Khan alias Ibrahim, only 15, were on their way to a Friday market with their buffaloes when they were beaten up and hanged to death from a tree by suspected cow-protection vigilantes in Latehar district, Jharkand state. This incident follows a spate of such ‘beef murders’ in the country.
Moving to Thailand, the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) issued an order to halt the upcoming election of the Lawyer’s Council president and committee, as the election might violate the NCPO Announcement banning a political gathering of five or more persons.
Condemning this move in a joint statement on March 21, lawyers and rights groups said the order is a serious violation of human rights and the principle of the rule of law: “Lawyers have the right to establish and join an occupational organisation to direct ourselves and to represent and protect the honour of lawyers.”
Moving to Pakistan, student unions have been banned for 34 years, since the time of General Zia Ul Haq. The ban has created a political and leadership vacuum that has been filled by undemocratic forces like military dictatorships and Islamic and sectarian militancy. The most critical damage has been the lack of student elections, and the death of the concept of responsible governance in the minds of the country’s youth.
Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features three appeals from India and Indonesia.
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