This week Just Asia begins with highlights from an exclusive interview with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Professor Juan E. Mendez. Speaking to the editor of Torture Magazine, Nilantha Ilangamuwa, Mr. Mendez shares his views on various issues, including his most recent visit to Sri Lanka.
Next, a Muslim mob in Pakistan’s Punjab Province is threatening to set fire to the homes of the Christian community of Chak 44, Mandi Bahaudin. A minor disagreement between two colleagues, one Muslim and one Christian, has engulfed the entire community. Imran, the Christian colleague, has fled for his life, as Muslim clerics have issued a fatwa against him for alleged blasphemy. The Christians have been told to either convert to Islam or leave the village forever.
In Indonesia, victims of human rights abuses under the Soeharto regime and their families are commemorating past human rights abuses in the month of May. Victims and their families are calling for the public to remember the past, and demanding the current government to resolve those past abuses, including the 12 May 1998 Trisakti killings and the 13-15 May Riots of 1998. To learn more, Just Asia speaks to Ruyati Darwin, family member of a victim of the May Riots.
In Thailand, land rights defender Mr. Den Kamlae is reported missing. Mr. Kamlae belongs to the Khok Yao community of Kon San district, Chaiyaphum province, which is facing forced eviction from land they have occupied for 45 years. According to Front Line Defenders, a Dublin-based rights group, “It remains unclear who is responsible for Den’s abduction, but the government must be held accountable for its apathy towards disappearances and killings of land rights defenders in Thailand.”
Next, a poor 27-year-old Dalit law student was found brutally raped and murdered in her house in Kerala, India on April 28. The incident resulted in a media storm and widespread protests, especially against the backdrop of Kerala’s recently concluded Assembly elections. The case exposed the inefficiency and prejudice of the Kerala Police, and showed the poor state of criminal investigation in the country.
Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features four cases from Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
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